Free speech? Not everybody loves it, this map shows

In some countries, people want more freedom of speech. In others, they feel that there is too much.

Credit: Justitia
  • In green: where people like free speech the most. In red: where free speech is not popular.
  • Despite continued strong support, this recent survey shows approval of free speech declining in the U.S.
  • Free speech helps create prosperity, but if forced to choose, people prefer prosperity over free speech.
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30 grunts and sounds that may have been the first language

Linguists discover 30 sounds that may have allowed communication before words existed.

Credit: Alexander Krivitskiy / mana5280/ Unsplash /Big Think
  • What did the first person who wanted to speak say?
  • New research suggests that there are lots of sounds that everyone understands.
  • These sounds may have allowed the first exchanges that gave birth to language.
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Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash

When doubts about a relationship start to creep in, people don't just blurt them out. They might not want to worry their partner and figure they'll ride out what could just be a rough patch. They probably think they can hide their feelings pretty easily.

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Neanderthals could produce and hear human speech, new study finds

Their ear structures were not that different from ours.

Credit: Mercedes Conde-Valverde/University of Binghamton
  • Neanderthals are emerging as having been much more advanced than previously suspected.
  • Analysis of ear structures indicated by fossilized remains suggests they had everything they needed for understanding the subtleties of speech.
  • The study also concludes that Neanderthals could produce the consonants required for a rich spoken language.
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Has political correctness gone too far?

The debate over whether or not there is a place for political correctness in modern society is not always black and white.

  • Political correctness is often seen as a debate between two extremes, but there are nuances in the middle of the spectrum. Is there such a thing as being too PC, and if so, where is that line?
  • While philosopher Slavoj Žižek, comedian Lewis Black, and actor Jeff Garlin acknowledge that some topics can be hurtful or even oppressive and should thus be approached with "good taste and self-restraint," they also argue that PC culture has tipped the scales far beyond being balanced. "If we continue to move in that direction," says Black, "then we're going to be living between uptight and stupid and there'll be no in between."
  • Simultaneously, others—including Paul F. Tompkins, Jim Gaffigan, and Martin Amis—argue that political correctness aims to change things for the better, especially for groups who have been marginalized and discriminated against, and that not being sexist and racist, for example, is not actually a heavy lift. "The fact of the matter is these people are the people of today and you might be a person of yesterday if you can't adjust and you can't be in tune with what people think is funny anymore," says Tompkins.

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