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Psychology

Essays and videos offering insights into the self, relationships, cognition and neuroscience
Illustration of two people high-fiving, with colourful abstract shapes around them representing conversation and connection.
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Language and linguistics

The little Peruvian guide to public speaking that conjures up a grandiose world

7 minutes

A woman stands against a white wall, in a red top and blue jeans, extending an open hand forward. Subtitles at the bottom read ‘Let me show you.’
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video

Language and linguistics

Closed captions suck. Here’s one artist’s inventive project to make them better

8 minutes

A black and white photograph shows a woman on the edge of a sand dune overlooking the sea leaning back into a strong wind
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Language and linguistics

Cathedrals of convention

Humans have a strong impulse to see things that are arbitrary or conventional as natural and essential – especially language

Reuben Cohn-Gordon

Black-and-white photo of a man and a woman, seen from behind, on the deck of a boat, looking out to shore
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Philosophy of language

Metaphors make the world

Woven into the fabric of language, metaphors shape how we understand reality. What happens when we try using new ones?

Benjamin Santos Genta

A woman operates an antique phonograph next to a man wearing a traditional Native American headdress in a sepia-toned photograph.
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essay

Language and linguistics

Our language, our world

Linguistic relativity holds that your worldview is structured by the language you speak. Is it true? History shines a light

James McElvenny

Several deaf inmates sit on chairs in a circle, engaged in an ASL conversation. Room has white walls, white chairs, flags and a podium in the background.
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video

Human rights and justice

‘I know that change is possible’ – a Deaf prison chaplain’s gospel of hope

18 minutes

A black and white shot shows three men sitting on a sea wall and seen from a diminishing perspective such that they represent a scale of size
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essay

Philosophy of language

The geometry of other people

Some friends are ‘close’. Others are ‘distant’. But our spatial descriptions of social life are more than just metaphors

David Borkenhagen

Close-up of an elderly Hmong man with grey eyebrows, holding a traditional instrument to his lips, and a pensive expression on his wrinkled face against a dark background.
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video

Language and linguistics

Messages born of melody – hear the whistled language of the Hmong people

18 minutes

Watercolour painting of a deer with antlers incorporating tree branches and fruit, standing on its hind legs in a lush forest.
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video

Stories and literature

A French Creole folktale nearly lost to time is given new, gorgeously animated life

6 minutes

A woman and two children dressed in traditional First Nations clothing stand in front of a teepee structure
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essay

Language and linguistics

Language is medicine

For First Nations people, health is not a matter of mechanical fitness of the body, but of language, identity and belonging

Erica X Eisen

Elderly man sitting at a table in a spacious, elegant room, holding a cane and looking contemplatively to the right.
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Philosophy of language

Quantum poetics

How Borges and Heisenberg converged on the notion that language both enables and interferes with our grasp of reality

William Egginton

Man lying on an orange sofa reading a document with a yellow notepad, faces partially obscured background.
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video

Language and linguistics

A master palindromist spells out his 40-year ‘love affair with reversibility’

6 minutes

Children in school uniforms reading books in a dimly lit classroom. The window is open, showing greenery outside.
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essay

Language and linguistics

The problem with English

Is Earth’s most-spoken language a living ‘gift’ or a many-headed ‘monster’? Both views distract us from the real dilemma

Mario Saraceni

A historical photo showing people and horses near a decorated archway with intricate patterns, likely an entrance gate. The background features a large wall.
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Global history

After the mother tongues

Cultural exchange between Iran and India led to the creation of literary histories that inspired modern nationalism

Alexander Jabbari

Two people in winter clothing walk through a snowy landscape, with buildings and power lines in the background under heavy snowstorm conditions.
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video

Knowledge

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

6 minutes

A family inside a colourful room. A woman rolls dough. A man, child, and other women sit nearby. A young girl stands behind them wearing a knitted hat.
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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

Ancient clay tablet with inscriptions in an unknown script, featuring cracks and a missing corner, displayed on a light background.
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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

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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

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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

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video

Beauty and aesthetics

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

4 minutes

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video

Language and linguistics

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

6 minutes

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video

Language and linguistics

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

2 minutes

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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

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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