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Language as a Window Into Human Nature

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Language is the main channel in which human beings share the contents of their consciousness. It thereby offers a window into human nature, revealing the hidden workings of our thoughts, our emotions, and our social relationships. I explore an example of each: everyday metaphor as a window into human cognition; swearing and taboo words as a window into human emotion; and indirect speech-veiled threats and bribes, polite requests, and sexual come-ons-as a window into human relationships.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Linguistic Society series.

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