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Language

The Takeaway

Swearing is Changing—And That's a Good Thing

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Have we gotten a tad too lax about swearing these days? Do we swear more than we should? Or, is there something else bigger going on? Columbia University linguist John McWhorter explains why our idea of profanity is changing.

Comments [25]

Life of the Law

Redefining Rape

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Most of us have an idea of what the crime of rape is. But the legal meaning of the word rape varies widely, depending on which state you’re in. And in 25 states, what we may think of as rape...isn’t called that at all.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Open Phones: What Are Your Rules for Speaking a Language Other Than English?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The NYPD has an English-only policy for conversations among cops, and the National Latino Officers Association says it's unfair.

Comments [45]

Radio Rookies

Losing Language

Friday, June 28, 2013

Grisel speaks Spanish at home with her mom in NYC, and during the summers with her dad and cousins in Puerto Rico. She never thought it was a gift to be bilingual, but her close friend Aura had a very different experience. Aura’s Chilean parents chose to speak English with her when she was a little girl and, as a result, she can’t speak Spanish or communicate easily with her grandparents. Aura longs to have Spanish tumble easily out of her mouth and she wonders why her parents made the choice to teach her English first.

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Radio Rookies

This is America, Speak English

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Radio Rookies Sam and Sydne both grew up in New York City and are used to hearing the polyglot of language that makes up the fabric of this city. The multitude of languages spoken in their communities has never bothered Sam (who speaks Spanish with her parents) or Sydne, which is why they are dismayed by the “English-only” movement and people who express anger over having to “push 1 for English” on automated phone calls. But when some people in their own school and even families express a similar sentiment they decide to dig a little deeper.

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Radiolab

The Voices Inside You

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where would we be without the voices in our heads? To get at this question, Charles Fernyhough raises another: can children think before they have words? According to Fernyhough, a Russian psychologist named Lev Vygotsky developed a theory about how the words and voices we hear as kids turn from ...

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On Being

Joy Ladin — Gender and the Syntax of Being: Identity and Transition

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gender defines us from the moment we’re born. But how is that related to the lifelong work of being at home in ourselves? We explore this question through her story of transition from male to female -- in an orthodox Jewish world.

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On Being

[Unedited] Joy Ladin with Krista Tippett

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gender defines us from the moment we’re born. But how is that related to the lifelong work of being at home in ourselves? We explore this question through her story of transition from male to female -- in an orthodox Jewish world.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New York Times reporter Margalit Fox tells a real-life intellectual detective story about how an ancient language on tablets unearthed in Crete was deciphered. In The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code, she paints portraits of three pivotal figures. English archeologist Arthur Evans who discovered a cache of ancient tablets; Michael Ventris, the brilliant amateur who deciphered the script but met with a sudden, mysterious death; and Alice Kober, the unsung heroine of the story whose painstaking work allowed Ventris to crack the code.

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WNYC News

Knaidel, Kneydl: New Yorkers Dish on Dumpling Spellings

Friday, May 31, 2013

A conversation about spelling - and translation

Comments [1]

The Brian Lehrer Show

This is Your Brain on Languages

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sean Lynch, head of school of the Lycée Français de New York (LFNY), Ellen Bialystok, cognitive neuroscientist, research professor at York University in Toronto, discuss the effects of knowing two (or more) languages on the brain.

What's your experience with being bilingual?  Does it add confusion or clarity to your thinking?

Comments [31]

On The Media

Saying Goodbye to "Illegal Immigrants"

Friday, April 05, 2013

On Tuesday the Associated Press eliminated the phrases "illegal immigrantand "undocumented" from its stylebook. Previous OTM guest Jose Antonio Vargas has been campaigning for this change for months on the grounds that “actions are illegal – not people.” The AP has conceded this point of view, but it’s not because of political correctness. Bob talks to AP editor Tom Kent, who explains that the change is part of a broader overhaul of the AP stylebook.

 

William Tyler - We Can't Go Home Again

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The Brian Lehrer Show

It's Idiomatic

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Christine Ammer author of more than three dozen reference books, including The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, gets to the heart of American English idiomatic phrases, including idioms that feature animals.

Tomorrow's assignment: "Lame duck" and "dark horse" are used in politics.  What idiomatic phrase would you use to describe today's political standoff?

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The Brian Lehrer Show

It's Idiomatic

Monday, February 25, 2013

Christine Ammer, author of more than three dozen reference books, including The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, gets to the heart of American English idiomatic phrases, including and/or idiomatic phrases like "hue and cry" and "by hook or crook."

Tomorrow's Assignment: Use as many idiomatic phrases as you can in the space of a 100-word paragraph.    

 

Comments [1]

The Brian Lehrer Show

It's Idiomatic

Friday, February 22, 2013

Christine Ammer, author of more than three dozen reference books, including The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, gets to the heart of American English idiomatic phrases.

New assignment: What's your definition for the less-well-known idiom "all wool and a yard wide"?  Use your imaginations, not google!  Check out Facebook for more phrases this weekend.

Comments [2]

The Brian Lehrer Show

It's Idiomatic

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Christine Ammer, author of more than three dozen reference books, including The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, gets to the heart of American English idiomatic phrases, including newly coined idioms, like "control freak."

Tomorrow's Assignment: Are there idioms you learned incorrectly, like "intensive purposes" or "making ends meat"?  Share your "misheard" idioms.

 

Comments [10]

The Brian Lehrer Show

Madeleine Albright; White House Press Access; Idioms

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks about her book on her family history and her thoughts on the Clinton-Kerry transition at the State Department. Plus: Politico's Glenn Thrush on the White House press corp's perceived lack of access to the President; and Christine Ammer examines the idiom "turning over a new leaf."

On Being

Jean Berko Gleason — Unfolding Language, Unfolding Life [remix]

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Learning to talk, acquiring language, is one of the most remarkable and ordinary things human beings do. A playful conversation with a legend in the field of psycholinguistics, who says it’s as thrilling a frontier as outer space or the deep sea.

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On Being

[Unedited] Jean Berko Gleason with Krista Tippett

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Learning to talk, acquiring language, is one of the most remarkable and ordinary things human beings do. A playful conversation with a legend in the field of psycholinguistics, who says it’s as thrilling a frontier as outer space or the deep sea.

Comment

Radiolab

Mr. Bliss

Monday, December 17, 2012

First: a perfect moment. On day 86 of a 3-month trek to and from the South Pole, adventurer Aleksander Gamme discovered something he'd stashed under the ice at the start of his trip. He wasn't expecting such a rush of happiness in that cold, hungry ...

Comments [34]