John H. McWhorter

linguist and author of the book, "Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English."

John H. McWhorter appears in the following:

The Case of Eric Garner Is a Milestone in Black History

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Daniel Pantaleo, the officer whose impermissible chokehold led to the death of Eric Garner, was fired by New York City's police commissioner. What does this mean for black history?

Comments [3]

Who Gets To Use Black English?

Monday, August 20, 2018

A discussion on whether non-black artists and writers should or should not use African American Vernacular English.

Comments [1]

Surreal Talk

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merriam-Webster's 2016 word of the year is 'surreal.' 

Comments [2]

Left Language, Right Language

Friday, December 02, 2016

When ideas are fraught, so is word choice.

What Are The Most Efficient Languages?

Friday, July 01, 2016

Some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages — ever wonder which one of those is most efficient?  


At The Rijksmuseum, Old Paintings Get New Names

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Is Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum fixing a problem by changing some titles in its collection, or is it just a token gesture?

Comments [7]

The Linguistic Exception of 'Mamas' and 'Papas'

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Columbia linguistics professor John McWhorter gives insight into why the words, "mama" and "papa" sound eerily similar across many languages.

Comments [3]

Does Shakespeare Need an English Translator?

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced that it will translate all of Shakespeare’s plays into modern English. Good idea or a tragedy? 

Comments [19]

A Soda Jerk And A Mormon Walk Into A Podcast

Monday, January 19, 2015

What soda pairs best with enchiladas? Why are soft drinks carbonated with dry ice so much better? Plus we talk regional soda pop nomenclature with a linguist. Got belly wash?

A 'Rose By Any Other Name' DOES Smell As Sweet

Thursday, May 01, 2014

John McWhorter, Columbia linguistics professor, New Republic contributing editor, Time columnist and the author of The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language (Oxford University Press, USA, 2014) argues against the view that language shapes how we perceive or interact with the world, plus discusses the politics news this week.


Comments [50]

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 expla...

Comments [25]

Talking a Blue Streak

Friday, September 07, 2012

John McWhorter, linguist, New Republic contributing editor and the author of What Language Is (And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be) talks about the Democrats' rhetorical choices in their conventions speeches.


Comments [10]

Speech! Speech!

Friday, August 31, 2012

John McWhorter, linguist, New Republic contributing editor and the author of What Language Is (And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be), talks about the Republicans' rhetorical choices.

Comments [28]

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.

Comments [16]

John McWhorter on Language

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Linguist and author John McWhorter talks about his new book, What Language Is: And What It Isn't and What It Could Be.

Event: John is reading tonight, August 9, 2011, at 7 pm at McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince Street in Manhattan.

Comments [13]

Are Blue Collar Jobs the Answer to the Shrinking Black Middle Class?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Public sector lay-offs have disproportionately affected the black middle class. What is the solution?

Comments [10]

Dropping F-Bombs

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Three of the Billboard top ten songs in the country have titles containing the F-word. On this year’s Grammys telecast, Cee Lo Green played a rollicking version of the smash hit everyone knows isn’t really called “Forget You.” Has one of the most powerful curse words in the English arsenal become toothless? We get some straight talk on profanity from linguist  John McWhorter and New York Times pop critic Jon Pareles. 

Comments [44]

Angry Barack Man

Friday, November 05, 2010

People accusing Barack Obama of being insufficiently “angry” need a Shaft fix. After that, they should get back to evaluating our President as a human being rather than as a stereotype.

Yes, stereotype. How “angry” are people waiting for a United States president to look, and why so much concern about it with this president?

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Comments [1]

Racists, The Tea Party, and Why This Anger Isn't Going Anywhere

Thursday, October 21, 2010

As of the NAACP’s recent report on racism in the Tea Party, the media is again abuzz with concern that bigotry is a prime motivator of the movement. We are also being told that the wise American today should worry about a new onslaught of racism.

I doubt both claims. What should depress us most about the Tea Partiers is that they, complete with racist freeloaders as well as an airheaded tantrum masquerading as a political ideology, may never be going away.

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Comments [6]

No Matter How Many Fruits N' Veggies There Are, The Sweet Stuff Sells

Friday, October 15, 2010

"If we are truly interested in changing the rates of obesity issue, our take cannot simply be that sugary and high-fat food is all that is within walking distance to poor New Yorkers....
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Comments [1]