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Language

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 ...

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Radiolab

Bliss

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stories of striving, grasping, tripping, and falling for happiness, perfection, and Bliss.

Comments [88]

Radiolab

Mapping the Bilingual Brain

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chris Berube -- intrepid Radiolab intern, and monolinguist -- sets aside his ego to delve into a listener's question about intelligence and speaking more than one language.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Hot and Cold

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

On today’s show: Boston Globe language columnist Ben Zimmer discusses the best—and worst—words of 2012, including “selfie,” “YOLO,” and “Romnesia.” Jon Wiener helps us understand how the Cold War is being remembered—or forgotten—across the country. Chris Ware talks about a new box set that collects a decades worth of his acclaimed Building Stories comics. And historian Richard Lingeman looks at how the late 1940s set the stage for the Korean War and the Red Scare.

Radiolab

Struggle Pumps

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lulu's new blog post explains the origins of "struggle pumps," one of her favorite new phrases, in order to get you fired up for two big word creation contests whose deadlines are fast-approaching.

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WNYC News

The Many Languages of New York City

Friday, December 07, 2012

Just 51 percent of New Yorkers speak only English at home, according to recent data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. As for the other 49 percent, well, the languages span the globe.

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Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project

The Decline of American Cities: Lewis Mumford's 'The City in History'

Friday, November 23, 2012

WNYC

"Like a stopped clock," the author Lewis Mumford asserts in this 1961 appearance at a Books and Authors Luncheon, he has been exactly right twice.  

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The Takeaway

Why Slang Is Good For You

Friday, October 26, 2012

Michael Adams is an associate Professor of English at Indiana University who studies one important intersection of language and identity: slang. He says slang keeps us sharp — and that there is creative value in the creation of new language among different social groups.

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Life of the Law

Law in Translation

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vietnamese fishing communities are still finding themselves grounded by the BP oil spill, one of the largest environmental disasters of the century. These fishermen and women are without adequate interpretation services and legal representation and are...

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Radiolab

Brain Fodder Vol. 2

Friday, October 05, 2012

This week: a singing planet, scientific proof that lots of things really do taste like chicken, a love letter to a map, and lots more...

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Language Issues

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Linguist John McWhorter, a contributing editor at the New Republic and the author of What Language Is (And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be), talks about language and how we use it and change it.

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The Takeaway

From Fletching to Nutmeg: The Strange Language of the Olympic Games

Friday, August 03, 2012

Can you define the word “fletching”? Do you know what the branches are called in the ancient Olympians’ crowns? And for that matter, did you even know what dressage was before Anne Romney’s horse began competing in it?

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Listen to Lucy

Burberry chief’s top mix of brand and bunkum

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Burberry chief’s top mix of brand and bunkum

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On The Media

Dear Government: Make Yourself Plain

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bob speaks with former government employee Dr. Annetta Cheek who began advocating for clearer government writing after seeing a single, beautifully clear regulation.

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The Takeaway

The Bilingual Advantage

Monday, March 19, 2012

Americans have long debated whether the U.S. should have an official state language. The issue has been back in the spotlight in recent days since Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum said, "There are other states with more than one language, like Hawaii, but to be a state of the United States, English must be the principal language." However, recent studies show that switching between languages may actually make you smarter. 

switching between languages may actually make you smarter. 

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The Takeaway

New Initiative Preserves Rare and Endangered Languages

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

At present, there are nearly 7,000 languages being spoken worldwide. However, due to ageing populations and globalization's English-only emphasis, a language dies out every 14 days. At this rate, nearly half the world's languages will vanish in 100 years. Very often, these languages are lost without any record: no clues about pronunciation, let alone grammar or vocabulary. 

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Listen to Lucy

The 2011 guff awards

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The 2011 guff awards

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The Brian Lehrer Show

"Pragmatic" is Merriam-Webster's Word of The Year. What's Yours?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merriam-Webster has chosen "pragmatic" as their word of the year. The dictionary saw a spike in searches for the word in the run-up to the debt ceiling negotiations and again during deficit negotiations this Fall.

»» What do you think of the decision? What would be your word of 2011? Post it below and tell us why! Or tweet us @brianlehrer using the tag #blword.

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Radiolab

Krulwich Wonders: Vowels Control Your Brain

Thursday, December 08, 2011

NPR

Here's something you should know about yourself. Vowels control your brain.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Caryl Phillips on Race, Culture, and Belonging

Friday, November 25, 2011

Born in St. Kitts and brought up in the UK, Caryl Phillips has written about and explored the experience of migration for more than 30 years through his novels, plays, and essays. In Color Me English: Thought About Migrations and Belonging Before and After 9/11 he reflects on the shifting notions of race, culture, and belonging before and after the September 11 attacks.

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