arjun chandra

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1. The Talking Drums

2. Too Many Beats (Redundancy) Keeps the Message Alive

3. Redundancy in Language

4. Redundancy in Digital Communication

3. Redundancy in Language

Redundancy or wordiness tackles confusion. This is true for all modes of communication, be it spoken, be it through drums, be it digital. A pilot flying an aircraft with a tail ID 'DE-RDS' says 'Delta Echo Romeo Delta Sierra', or else the Ds and Es would sound very similar on the noisy radio channel, even on a cellular phone for that matter. When we send an SMS saying 'cn i hv a rd', we could be talking either about a book or transport. The extra letters in 'read' or 'ride' provide context to someone who may not be part of the full conversation. There are patterns in all languages, beat patterns, grammar, spelling, word frequencies, which help reduce ambiguity in a conveyed message.

If a message is very redundant, much of it can be guessed. There is some certainty about it. It is not totally random. We can do a little experiment to understand redundancy in language.

Go to some blog and pick random words from it, noting them down in a sequence.

I went here:

I got this: 'deg vi det kokes basis frem ute dagen fordi'

This sequence looks quite random.

Now try another thing. Pick a random word from this blog. Note it down. Now do a search for this word on the same page - there might be many matches. Pick some match and note down the word 'next' to this match. Now search for this new word on the page, pick a match and note down the word next to the match again. Repeat this process a few times - search for noted word, pick a match, note down word next to match.

I got this: 'alle sammen som kanskje tillatt seg rundt og visper mens jeg'

This sequence of words does not seem like the first one. Not so random. We could even make a sentence out of it. This shows how pairs of words usually occur together. Some words occur more often next to a given word than other words. We can often guess neighbouring words. A totally random sequence of words would make it hard for us to guess what's coming next. In a conversation in a noisy room, if we miss one word but hear the next, it is often possible for us to guess the first. The first word unravels the next and vice versa. Our brains are experts at keeping a mathematical record of these repeating patterns, and such patterns help us deal with background noise.