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Language And Grammar

The Leonard Lopate Show

Patricia T. O'Conner on Shakespeare's English

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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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The Leonard Lopate Show

Word Maven Patricia T. O'Conner on Being "Gruntled"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner wonders: Are we ever “gruntled”? She looks at the words “gruntled” and “disgruntled” and answers questions on English 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.

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

Comments [42]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Patricia T. O’Conner

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner answers questions about English 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.

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

Comments [73]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Ben Zimmer on Supercalifragilisticexpialodocious

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Boston Globe and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com, tells the untold story behind the word "supercalifragilisticexpialodocious." He wrote about it in his latest Boston Globe column.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Word Maven Patricia T. O'Conner on Discombobulation

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner answers the question: What’s the opposite of “discombobulate”? (Yes there is one.) And she answers questions about English 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.

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

Comments [78]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Ben Zimmer on the Origin of the Word "Jazz"

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Boston Globe and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com, will talk about the first known use of the word “jazz”—and its surprising link to baseball.

Comments [1]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Patricia T. O'Conner on the Talk of the Deli

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner investigates the talk of the deli: who invented "pastrami." And she answers questions about English 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.

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

Comments [80]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Word Maven Patricia T. O’Conner on Beautiful Words

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner talks about beautiful words and answers questions about English 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 now out in paperback, along with Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman.

Are there words you think are beautiful? Do you admire them for the way they sound or what they mean? Leave a comment or call us at 212-433-9692 to let us know!

Comments [123]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Patricia T. O'Conner on the Language of the Holidays

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner talks about the many euphemisms we have for death—pushing up daisies, bought the farm, kicked the bucket—and she answers questions about English 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 now out in paperback, along with Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman.

Comments [29]

The Leonard Lopate Show

The Words of 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wordsmith Ben Zimmer talks about the year in words—from "occupy" to "supercommittee" to "bunga bunga" to "tiger mother." He'll also look at some of the phrases, like "leading from behind" and "win the future" to tell us what the national vocabulary reveals about 2011. Ben Zimmer writes a biweekly language column for the Boston Globe and is the former "On Language" columnist for The New York Times Magazine. He's also executive producer of VisualThesaurus.com and Vocabulary.com.

Let us know what your words of the year are! Leave a comment below!

Comments [12]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Patricia T. O'Conner on Euphemisms for Death, and the Life of Language

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner talks about the many euphemisms we have for death—pushing up daisies, bought the farm, kicked the bucket—and she answers questions about English 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 now out in paperback, along with Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman.

Comments [47]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Word Maven Patricia T. O'Conner on Nonverbal Communication

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner talks about non-verbal language—from the nod to the shrug to ruder gestures. She’ll also tackle listener questions about the English 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 now out in paperback, along with Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman.

Comments [39]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Word Maven Patricia T. O'Conner on Failed Neologisms

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner talks about failed neologisms—new words that never made it into the dictionary. She’ll also tackle your questions about the English 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 now out in paperback, along with Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman.

Comments [76]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Words to Eat By

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ina Lipkowitz explains how English food words tell a remarkable story about the evolution of our language and culinary history. Words to Eat By: Five Foods and the Culinary History of the English Language explores the stories behind five of our most basic food words, and shows the role of French and Italian names in the English culinary vocabulary as well as the Old English origins of many common food words like meat, bread, apple, and milk.

Comments [9]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Decoding Your E-Mail Personality

Monday, August 01, 2011

Ben Zimmer, executive producer of VisualThesaurus.com and Vocabulary.com, and New York Times contributor, explains how forensic linguists try to detect "fingerprints" in e-mails and other digital writing. His article "Decoding Your E-Mail Personality" looks at the how it's done and what your e-mails and digital writing reveal about you.

Comments [9]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Who or Whom?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Today Patricia T. O'Conner was on the Lopate Show to talk about language and grammar and to answer listener questions on the topic, and Natalie from Westchester called to shared a trick she uses to figure out when to use "who" and when to use "whom" in a sentence.

She explained: If you would answer the question with "he" or "she," you should ask the question with "who." And if you would answer with "him" or "her," you should ask the question with "whom."

Which means "Whom does this shirt belong to?" is correct because the answer would be "It belongs to him (or her)." You would ask "Who is going uptown on the A train?" because the answer is "She (or he) is going uptown on the A train."

Knowing the difference between who and whom confuses many people, and this is the simplest trick for figuring it out that I've ever come across. Thanks, Natalie from Westchester!

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Word Maven Patricia T. O'Conner on the News

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner talks about how certain words, such as "news," are pronounced on the radio. She’ll also tackle your questions about the English 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 now out in paperback, along with Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman.

Comments [60]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Alpha Better Juice

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Roy Blount, Jr., talks about the “etymological goulash” that always simmers on the back burner of his mind. His new book Alpha Better Juice is full of his dexterous wordplay, linguistic tricks and his particular take on language.

Comments [13]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Patricia T. O’Conner on Memorable Movie Lines

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner talks about famous improvised movie lines. She also answers questions about our confounding and complex English language. An updated and expanded third edition of her book, Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, has recently been published in paperback, and a paperback version of Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman, was recently issued.

Do you have a question about language and grammar, or about the origins and meanings of certain cat expressions? Call us at 646-829-3985 or leave a comment below!

What are some of your favorite movie lines? Have you adopted any into your speech? Let us know!

Comments [99]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Fun with Puns

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

John Pollack, former World Pun Champion and presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton, explores puns, the people who make them, why puns are so derided, and how they’ve changed influenced history. The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics explains why such wordplay is significant, how it influences language, and looks at history, brain science, pop culture, literature, anthropology, and humor.

Comments [12]