Articles on Language

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What is it that gives us a voice? Shutterstock/Sergey Nivens

Explainer: Why the human voice is so versatile

We humans are capable of vocalising many different words in a range of languages. But what is it that gives us a remakable and variable voice?
Are contemporary insults as witty as the scorn of the past? Ollyy/www.shutterstock.com

Review: the fine art of scorn from Twain to Trump

Scorn has a long and humorous history. But a new book on the subject, featuring quotes from Kanye West, Christopher Hitchens and of course, Donald Trump, rather lacks contemporary wit.
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the October 9 presidential town hall debate. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Donald Trump and the dangerous rhetoric of portraying people as objects

An expert in political rhetoric singles out Trump's repeated use of reification – the tendency to treat people as things – and the role it's played in his tortured response to the leaked tape.
Go ahead, just let off some steam. 'Swearing' via www.shutterstock.com

Do we swear too much?

With the taboo on swearing loosening over the past few decades, will profanity lose its effectiveness in spoken language?

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