Displaying all articles tagged:


  1. science of us
    ‘Frumbled’ and Other Good Reasons to Make Up WordsOn “Russian blues” and the impossibility of seeing another person’s perception.
  2. word search
    A Brief, Convoluted History of the Word ‘Intersectionality’How an academic term morphed into a buzzword.
  3. science of us
    The 300-Year History of Using ‘Literally’ FigurativelyWomen have always been much quicker than men to move ahead into new linguistic territory.
  4. Apparently, These Are the Funniest Words in the English LanguageAccording to a new study.
  5. To Understand Why We Have So Many Languages, Look Way, Way Back in Human HistoryRainfall and warfare are just two of the many factors.
  6. How to Find the Word That’s on the Tip of Your TongueWhen “whatchamacallit” isn’t good enough.
  7. Why the Internet Tilde Is the Most Perfect Piece of Snark We HaveIs there any punctuation mark more of the times?
  8. The Real Purpose of Uptalk Is to Get You to Shut Up and ListenLinguists argue that the much-maligned habit is a way of holding a listener’s attention.
  9. language
    How Do You Write About Something Like Alzheimer’s?The disease resists any easy attempt at metaphors, but that doesn’t mean patients and their caretakers don’t try.
  10. A Linguist Breaks Down What We Really Mean When We Call Our Friends ‘Close’Friendship between women has its own language.
  11. mental health
    Sometimes, Mental-Illness Destigmatization Can BackfirePeople with severe mental-health problems really are suffering, and it doesn’t make sense to scrub the language we use to pretend they aren’t.
  12. Why You Trust Email Way More Than You ShouldIt’s not a casual spoken conversation. So why do we treat it like one?
  13. Talking in Euphemisms Can Chip Away at Your Sense of MoralityUsing “indirect speech” to describe unethical behavior helps us feel better about it.
  14. Use This Storytelling Technique to Make Your Bad Memories Feel More MeaningfulAnd gain some much-needed distance.
  15. This Chart of a Baby’s First 100 Words Explains How We Learn LanguageIn the earliest stages, babies’ speech follows a certain pattern.
  16. This Finnish Word Makes Your Sad Weekend Plans Sound a Little CoolerIt’s a good night for some kalsarikannit.
  17. Learning Sign Language Can Help You Improve Your VisionA new study found a link between sign-language fluency and “visual-processing skills.”
  18. Why So Many Movie Villains Have British AccentsA linguist explains.
  19. science of us
    Want Synesthesia? Try Learning a New LanguagePeople who became bilingual later in life are more likely to experience the mysterious blurring of the senses.
  20. science of us
    Learning a Language Makes You Better at Handling AmbiguityBecause you’re not going to know everything.
  21. linguistics
    Emoji Have a Dual NatureDepending on what they’re describing, people write with emoji using one of two logics.
  22. You Can Be Lazy and Learn a New Language at the Same TimeThere are times when it’s best to put down the Duolingo.
  23. Monkeys’ Mouths Are Built for Speech — Only Their Brains Are Holding Them BackA new study shows that they’re capable of noises that sound a lot like human language.
  24. self-improvement
    When Ex-cons Change Their Vocabulary, They Stay Out of JailChange the way you speak, change the way you live.
  25. emotion
    Having Finely Tuned Emotions Will Help You Process Trump’s WinThe richer your vocabulary, the greater your resilience.
  26. Test Your Creativity: What Do These 3 Words Have in Common?One for the puzzle lovers.
  27. The Possessive Your Guys’ Is American English at Its Rough-Spun BestThe language evolves.
  28. The Boy Who Woke Up From a Coma Speaking a Whole New LanguageRueben Nsemoh knew only a few words of Spanish — until a head injury made him fluent.
  29. How We Got ‘Bark’ for Dogs, ‘Quack’ for Ducks, and Other Words for Animal SoundsNew research shows how people across the world describe animal sounds.
  30. personality
    The World Looks Different When You’re Speaking a Second LanguageA new memoir lends a fresh perspective to one of the great mysteries of modern linguistics.
  31. science of us
    Thinking in a Second Language Makes You Less MoralWe feel more, and reason less, in our native language.
  32. A Dictionary Wants Everyone to Calm Down About Using ‘Literally’ WrongWords evolve. English will be okay.
  33. science of us
    Blind People Gesture Like Sighted PeopleWhether or not you can see, you talk with your hands.
  34. science of us
    The Unexpectedly Existential Roots of Adjective OrderWhy it’s a “huge fuzzy blanket” and not a “fuzzy huge blanket.”
  35. Your Dog Is Too Smart to Be Fooled by Your Fake Happy Voice“Who’s a big dummy? Who’s a big dumb boy?”
  36. The Race to Study a Dying Sign Language Before It DisappearsIt’s making linguists rethink what they believe about how humans learned to speak.
  37. science of us
    The Man Who Woke Up One Morning and Forgot How to ReadA strange case that settled a long, contentious debate about the brain.
  38. Babies Learn Accents Before They’re Even BornTheir cries sound different depending on the language their parents speak.
  39. Stuttering Birds Are Helping Scientists Understand How Humans Learned to TalkWhat another species’ speech impediment reveals about our own capacity for language.
  40. The Magic Word That Makes You Seem Extra PersuasiveIt’s not please.
  41. If You Want to Bond With Someone, Swear at ThemIt’s fun, too!
  42. Linguistics Explains Why Ending a Text With a Period Is So AwfulIt’s all about context.
  43. Gorillas Talk With Their Hands the Same Way Humans DoSome gestures mean the same thing across species.
  44. A Talking Orangutan Can Help Us Understand How Humans Developed SpeechHis name’s Rocky, and he sounds eerily humanlike.
  45. How to Say ‘Um’ and ‘Like’ and Also Sound SmartThere’s a way to use filler words to your advantage.
  46. The Next Frontier of Linguistics Is Monkey ChatterLike human speech, it has its own set of rules.
  47. Talking With Your Hands Makes You Learn Things FasterSpeech is physical.
  48. Humans Aren’t the Only Animals That Use Baby Talk With Their KidsBirds do it, too.
  49. but we’re both equally annoying
    If You Want a Woman’s Real Opinion, Check Her FacebookA new study found women are just as assertive on social media as men.
  50. We May Never Know Why the Word ‘Moist’ Is So TerribleA new paper adds to an ongoing linguistic mystery.
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