Articles on Language

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A document in Tengwar, the script of the Elvish languages invented by JRR Tolkien, Dozza, Italy. Luca Lorenzelli via Shutterstock

How to build a ‘perfect’ language

From Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones, writers and linguists have invented an array of new languages.
It’s a simple word with a strange history. Andrii Oleksiienko/shutterstock.com

Curious Kids: Why do we say ‘OK’?

The word 'OK' has only been around for 180 years, but it's become the most spoken word on the planet.
Boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor engage in some verbal sparring prior to their 2017 bout. AP Photo/John Locher

When does trash talking work?

Whether it frustrates or motivates your opponent can depend on the situation.
Climate activists block the entrance to the Swiss bank UBS with a pile of coal in Basel, Switzerland earlier this summer. Climate protests are helping raise awareness about the ugliness of fossil fuels, and so too should the language we use. (Georgios Kefalas/Keystone via AP)

Using language to make the world of fossil fuels strange and ugly

If how we speak about the world we want to see is crucial in building support for climate change momentum, then what is visible and invisible, strange and normal, positive and negative, must change.

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