Free Speech

A Man with Tape on the Mouth
Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on December 5, 2022 and last updated on August 1, 2023

The topic of free speech, a fundamental pillar of democratic societies, offers English learners an invaluable opportunity to enhance their language skills.

Exploring this subject involves engaging in thought-provoking discussions about freedom of expression, its importance and its limitations. Analyzing historical and contemporary cases fosters critical thinking and improves vocabulary related to civil liberties and human rights.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

Free Speech

Free speech is a fundamental right that allows individuals to express themselves without fear of government retaliation or censorship. It is considered a cornerstone of democratic societies and is protected by national and international laws.

However, free speech is not absolute and may be subject to certain limitations, such as in the case of hate speech or incitement to violence.

The concept of free speech also applies to the internet, although the unique nature of the medium has raised questions about the appropriate limits of expression online. The protection of free speech is essential for allowing individuals to freely share their ideas and opinions, and for fostering open and inclusive societies.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • right (noun)
  • fundamental (adjective)
  • limitation (noun)
  • norm (noun)
  • interpret (verb)
  • offensive (adjective)
  • democracy (noun)
  • appropriate (adjective)
  • law (adjective)

Conversation Questions

My Image
  • What is free speech and why is it important?
  • How does free speech differ from country to country?
  • What are some common limitations on free speech?
  • How does the concept of free speech apply to the internet?
  • What is the role of government in protecting or limiting free speech?
  • How do hate speech and offensive speech fit within the concept of free speech?
  • What is the relationship between free speech and democracy?
  • How do courts interpret and apply free speech laws and regulations?
  • Can free speech ever be restricted in the interest of national security?
  • How do cultural and societal norms influence the understanding and protection of free speech?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.