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Language is a means of communicating complex ideas or feelings. Although human language can be verbal or non-verbal, it is more complex than any form of animal communication and reflects the culture of its speakers.
It has long been assumed that grammar is a system of abstract rules, that the world's languages follow universal patterns, and that we are born with a ‘language instinct’. But an alternative paradigm that focuses on how we learn and use language is emerging, overturning these assumptions and many more.
Understanding the prevalence and impact of personal attacks in online discussions is challenging. A method that combines crowdsourcing and machine learning provides a way forward, but caveats must be considered.