An Alternate View

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An American flag. An American flag. (bloomgal/flickr)

On today’s show: a UN statistician and economist takes a look at how the United States compares to similar countries in the areas of health, safety and education and why we’re often ranked near the bottom. Two of the actors and the director of the new play called “Cock” talk about the production. Stephen Carter describes his new novel, an alternate history titled The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln. Plus, linguists have reconstructed what they believe to be the sound of Elizabethan speech, and Patricia T. O’Conner talks about what Shakespeare’s productions would have sounded like in the 17th century.

The Measure of a Nation

Howard Friedman, statistician and United Nations health economist, compares the United States competes with the thirteen countries around the globe most similar to ours and argues that the country is often close to the bottom in health, safety, democracy, education, and the environment. In The Measure of a Nation: How to Regain America's Competitive Edge and Boost Our Global Standing, he pinpoints specific policies and practices in other nations that the United States could benefit from. 

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“The Cockfight Play”

Actors Jason Butler Harner and Amanda Quaid and director James Macdonald talk about the “The Cockfight Play”. When John and his boyfriend take a break, the last thing he expects is to suddenly meet the woman of his dreams. Now he has a big choice to make. It’s playing at The Duke on 42nd Street.

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Stephen Carter's New Novel

Stephen Carter talks about his novel The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln. It takes as its starting point an alternate history: President Abraham Lincoln survives the assassination attempt at Ford’s Theatre. Two years later he is charged with overstepping his constitutional authority and faces an impeachment trial. A young black woman working at the law firm that has undertaken Lincoln’s defense finds herself in a web of intrigue and conspiracy reaching the highest levels of the government.

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Patricia T. O'Conner on Shakespeare's English

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner Discusses Elizabethan speech—the language that Shakespeare and his actors used, circa 1600, and how it was originally pronounced, which sounds similar to the English spoken by Americans and by the Irish today. She’ll also answer questions about language and grammar. An updated and expanded third edition of her book, Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, is available in paperback, as is  Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman.

We're playing clips from “Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation: Speeches and Scenes Performed as Shakespeare Would Have Heard.

If you have a question about language and grammar, leave a comment or call us at 212-433-9692!

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