Geoff Nunberg appears in the following:
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
It's a common pledge of candor for a roster of presidential hopefuls. As linguist Geoff Nunberg explains, the promise to "tell it like it is" has its roots in black speech from the '40s and '50s.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Linguist Geoff Nunberg says it's fitting that the Scripps National Spelling Bee is broadcast by ESPN. (And, by the way, a thamakau is a kind of canoe used in Fiji.)
Monday, April 27, 2015
Linguist Geoff Nunberg considers the roots and resonance of the latest tech buzzword to catapult into the mainstream. "Disrupt" may be ubiquitous now, but could the term be on the eve of a disruption?
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Wikipedia editor Bryan Henderson has made it his crusade to edit out the phrase "comprised of" in more than 5 million articles. While his quest is harmless, it shows that zealots can dominate the Web.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Uber's "God view" shows a map of the cars in an area and the silhouettes of the people who ordered them. Linguist Geoff Nunberg says Uber-Santa doesn't just know when you've been sleeping, but where.
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Nobody knows what was in the president's cup when he saluted the Marines last month, but it became known as the "latte salute." Do people still use "red" and "blue" when discussing a cultural divide?
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
For the first time, a computer passed the test for machines engaging in intelligent thought. Linguist Geoff Nunberg says the real test is whether computers can behave the same way thinking people do.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century evokes another famous tome with "capital" in its title, and makes comparisons inevitable.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Linguist Geoff Nunberg lives in the Mission and says young tech employees have been pouring into the neighborhood. But what to call these new residents? He says the term "techie" used to suggest a computer whiz with no social skills; now it suggests one with no social conscience.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Many students prepare for the SAT by drilling themselves on esoteric, arcane and recondite words — like esoteric, arcane and recondite. Linguist Geoff Nunberg doesn't discourage these efforts, but he does have a word of caution: memorizing a definition is hardly the same as learning a new word.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Linguist Geoff Nunberg says he feels a little defensive about choosing "selfie" — a word that wears its ephemerality on its outstretched sleeve — as the word of 2013. But not only was this a year when we couldn't stop posting photos of ourselves online; we couldn't stop talking about it either.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
When dictionaries add trendy words like "twerk," they're prioritizing the fleeting language habits of the young, says Geoff Nunberg. And our fascination with novel words tends to eclipse subtle changes in the meanings of old ones — "which are often more consequential," he says.
Monday, August 05, 2013
The new eyeglass frames allow you to take pictures and browse the Internet while you wear them. Early adopters focused on the tiny screens have already been dubbed "glassholes." Fresh Air linguist Geoff Nunberg reminds us that in Shakespeare's time "distraction" was another word for madness.
Friday, April 26, 2013
After more than a week of gruesome media coverage, linguist Geoff Nunberg takes a close look at the words we use to describe events that mesmerize and horrify, that sensitize and desensitize, that transfix and repel us at the same time.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Lexicographers know they're in the hot seat as they confront the changing use of the word "marriage." Linguist Geoff Nunberg says the key to getting the new definition right is to crisply describe everything that's in the category and nothing that isn't.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Are you dreaming of a big summer vacation — on a staycation budget? Time Out’s Billie Cohen
has suggestions for cheap weekend getaways. Hellooooo, Palmyra! Also: Mark Zandi
of Moody’s Economy.com takes a look at the history of subprime mortgages — and what we can do to avoid the next ...