Archive | language

The Power of Suggestion

“Objection, your Honor, the Defense is leading the witness.” If you’ve watched TV courtroom dramas, you’ve heard this common expression. One lawyer is complaining that the other lawyer is asking leading questions; the questions suggest the answers the witness should give. As such, it unfairly taints the witness’ testimony. As often happens, a recent courtroom…

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Does Swearing Reduce Pain?

While I’m not an expert handyman, I don’t mind trying to fix things around the house (except electricity – no, thank you). My skills are such that I’ve occasionally hit my thumb which invariably elicits a yelp swear word from me. Over the years, I’ve wondered why I feel better after the outburst. Does swearing…

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What’s An Eggcorn?

Even though my mantra is “Words Matter”, I’m constantly learning new things about language. Last week I received an email which contained the phrase “for all intensive purposes”. Of course, the correct phrase is the similar-sounding “for all intents and purposes.” The mistake struck me as both amusing and intriguing, so I tweeted that it…

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Does Language Influence Culture?

We all use language to express our thoughts but does language influence culture? Research suggests inherent structures in languages shape our thoughts without us realizing it. In fact, differences in languages seem to impact how people act and interpret their surroundings. Psychology professor Lera Boroditsky provides some fascinating examples in a Wall Street Journal article…

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