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Psychology

Essays and videos offering insights into the self, relationships, cognition and neuroscience
Names for snow | Aeon
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video

Knowledge

Yes, the Inuit have dozens of words for snow – but what does each one mean exactly?

6 minutes

The polyglots of Dardistan | Aeon
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essay

Language and linguistics

The polyglots of Dardistan

At the crossroads of south and central Asia lies one of the world’s most multilingual places, with songs and poetry to match

Zubair Torwali

Cracking the Cretan code | Aeon
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essay

The ancient world

Cracking the Cretan code

Linear B has yielded its secrets, but Linear A remains elusive. Can linguistic analysis unlock the meaning of Minoan script?

Ester Salgarella

Typos, tricks and misprints | Aeon
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essay

Language and linguistics

Typos, tricks and misprints

Why is English spelling so weird and unpredictable? Don’t blame the mix of languages; look to quirks of timing and technology

Arika Okrent

Africa writes back | Aeon
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essay

Language and linguistics

Africa writes back

European ideas of African illiteracy are persistent, prejudiced and, as the story of Libyc script shows, entirely wrong

D Vance Smith

Komorebi | Aeon
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video

Beauty and aesthetics

Komorebi: ‘a dance of shadows emerging when sunlight filters through trees’

4 minutes

Why do we, like, hesitate when we, um, speak? | Aeon
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video

Language and linguistics

Ums, likes and y’knows get no respect – but they’re vital to conversation

6 minutes

The lost sound | Aeon
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video

Language and linguistics

A playful tribute to the words our grandparents used (but we can’t pronounce)

2 minutes

Thoughts into words | Aeon
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essay

Philosophy of language

Thoughts into words

Here’s the paradox of articulation: are you excavating existing ideas, or do your thoughts come into being as you speak?

Eli Alshanetsky

Weak links | Aeon
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essay

Human rights and justice

Weak links

The idea of the ‘supply chain’ shackles how we think about economic justice. What forces could new metaphors unleash?

Michael Gibb

A history of punctuation | Aeon
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Language and linguistics

A history of punctuation

How we came to represent (through inky marks) the vagaries of the mind, inflections of the voice, and intensity of feeling

Florence Hazrat

The space between our heads | Aeon
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essay

Language and linguistics

The space between our heads

Brain-to-brain interfaces promise to bypass language. But do we really want access to one another’s unmediated thoughts?

Mark Dingemanse

Hand to mouth | Aeon
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essay

Language and linguistics

Hand to mouth

If language began with gestures around a campfire and secret signals on hunts, why did speech come to dominate communication?

Kensy Cooperrider

On gibberish | Aeon
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essay

Language and linguistics

On gibberish

Babies babble, medieval rustics sing ‘trolly-lolly’, and jazz exults in bebop. What does all this wordplay mean for language?

Jenni Nuttall

Hypocognition is a censorship tool that mutes what we can feel | Aeon
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idea

Language and linguistics

Hypocognition is a censorship tool that mutes what we can feel

Kaidi Wu

The ethics of speech acts | Aeon
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essay

Philosophy of language

The ethics of speech acts

It’s one thing to say something. It’s quite another for a person to do (or not do) something because of what you’ve said

Guy Longworth

Why learning a new language is like an illicit love affair | Aeon
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idea

Language and linguistics

Why learning a new language is like an illicit love affair

Marianna Pogosyan

Cuneiform writing with Irving Finkel | Aeon
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video

The ancient world

How writing began, and other unexpectedly funny stories about cuneiform

39 minutes

Trigger warnings don’t help people cope with distressing material | Aeon
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idea

Mood and emotion

Trigger warnings don’t help people cope with distressing material

Christian Jarrett

A woman like me | Aeon
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video

Subcultures

When a deafblind woman from Denmark met a woman like her in Nepal

9 minutes

The way words mean | Aeon
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essay

Philosophy of language

The way words mean

Words stand for things in the world, and they stand apart from it. Perhaps meaning is more sunken into words than we realise?

Alexander Stern

Malaphors: the art of mixing up your idioms | Aeon
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video

Language and linguistics

To all intensive purposes, you might have another think coming about how idioms work

4 minutes

Sweetness and strangeness | Aeon
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essay

Stories and literature

Sweetness and strangeness

In our image-saturated, over-sped world, we are losing the imaginative power to create and find meaning through metaphor

Heather Altfeld & Rebecca Diggs

Noah Webster’s civil war of words over American English | Aeon
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idea

Language and linguistics

Noah Webster’s civil war of words over American English

Peter Martin