Geoff Nunberg

Geoff Nunberg appears in the following:

Irked By The Way Millennials Speak? 'I Feel Like' It's Time To Loosen Up

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

While some of his colleagues have criticized the current trend of starting sentences with the phrase, "I feel like," linguist Geoff Nunberg says it's just a case of generational misunderstanding.


Changes To French Spelling Make Us Wonder: Why Is English So Weird?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

As the French debate spelling changes to their language, linguist Geoff Nunberg suggests that Americans take a closer look at some of the quirks of English.


Everyone Uses Singular 'They,' Whether They Realize It Or Not

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The singular, gender-neutral usage of "they" is now acceptable on college campuses, among the genderqueer and in the Washington Post. Linguist Geoff Nunberg traces the rise of the new "they."


Goodbye Jobs, Hello 'Gigs': How One Word Sums Up A New Economic Reality

Monday, January 11, 2016

Once used by '50s hipsters to connote a no-strings-attached job, "gig" has been co-opted by venture capitalists hyping the new economic order. Linguist Geoff Nunberg reflects on the word's resurgence.


So, What's The Big Deal With Starting A Sentence With 'So'?

Thursday, September 03, 2015

It has been called the new "um" or "like," but linguist Geoff Nunberg says starting sentences with "so" isn't a new trend. People have been doing it for years. We're just noticing it more now.


Tracing The Origin Of The Campaign Promise To 'Tell It Like It Is'

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.


What's A Thamakau? Spelling Bee Is More About Entertainment Than English

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.)


From TED Talks To Taco Bell, Abuzz With Silicon Valley-Style 'Disruption'

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?


Don't You Dare Use 'Comprised Of' On Wikipedia: One Editor Will Take It Out

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.


Feeling Watched? 'God View' Is Geoff Nunberg's Word Of The Year

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.


The Language That Divides America: From Red And Blue To Percents

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?


Do Feelings Compute? If Not, The Turing Test Doesn't Mean Much

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.


150 Years After Marx, 'Capital' Still Can't Shake Loose Of 'Das Kapital'

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.


Hackers? Techies? What To Call San Francisco's Newcomers

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...


Sorry Assiduous (adj.) SAT-Takers, Linguist In Dudgeon (n.) Over Vocab Flashcards

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...


Narcissistic Or Not, 'Selfie' Is Nunberg's Word Of The Year

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...


The Internet's 'Twerk' Effect Makes Dictionaries Less Complete

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Evidently it was quite fortuitous. Just a couple of days after MTV's Video Music Awards, Oxford Dictionaries Online released its quarterly list of the new words it was adding. To the delight of the media, there was "twerk" at the top, which gave them still another occasion to link ...


Bracing For Google Glass: An In-Your-Face Technology

Monday, August 05, 2013

The likes of you and I can't buy Google Glass yet. It's available only to the select developers and opinion-makers who have been permitted to spring $1,500 for the privilege of having the first one on the block. But I've seen a few around my San Francisco neighborhood among ...


'Horrific' And 'Surreal': The Words We Use To Bear Witness

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mass shootings, bus crashes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks — we've gotten adept at talking about these things. Act of God or act of man, they're all horrific. At least that was the word you kept hearing from politicians and newscasters describing the Boston bombings and the explosion at the fertilizer plant ...


Even Dictionaries Grapple With Getting 'Marriage' Right

Thursday, April 04, 2013

It's a funny thing about dictionaries. First we're taught to revere them, then we have to learn to set them aside. Nobody ever went wrong starting a middle-school composition with, "According to Webster's ..." but that's not how you start an op-ed commentary about terrorism or racism. When it comes ...