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 ...
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.
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.
Friday, November 23, 2012
"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.
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.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.