Lexicon Valley

Sarah Palin’s Pronouns

Listen to Slate’s show about the rhetorical effect of this, that, these, and those.

Aug. 25 2014 7:45 AMLinguaFile II: Can You Guess the Mystery Word?Listen to Slate’s show about the etymology and history of a peculiar word, featuring lexicographer Ben Zimmer.
July 28 2014 12:31 PMWhere Did Discombobulate Come From?Listen to Slate’s show about the etymology of a most unusual word, featuring lexicographer Ben Zimmer.
March 14 2014 10:09 AMOur Next Witness, Your Honor: The DictionaryListen to Slate’s show about court cases in which the dictionary played a starring role.
Dec. 30 2013 10:52 AMWhy Is No Among a Child's First Words?Listen to Slate's show about the surprisingly complex taxonomy of simple negation.
Dec. 10 2013 1:56 PMWill Learning a "Logical" Language Make You Think More Logically?Listen to Slate's show about an invented language that forces you to choose your words carefully.
July 15 2013 3:02 PMCan a Language Make You More Musical?How tonal languages such as Cantonese might give would-be musicians a leg up.
June 25 2013 1:07 PMHow to Raise Verbal ChildrenWhy talking to your kids is one of the most important investments you can make in their future.
June 10 2013 3:05 PMDoes “Yeah, No …” Mean Yes or No (or Both)?Listen to Slate’s podcast about the seemingly paradoxical phrase and its hidden logic.
Jan. 17 2013 4:13 PMQ, Awe, SWhat R-dropping can tell us about New Yorkers, Part 1.
Dec. 21 2012 4:52 PMWhy Fiscal Cliff Is Such a Powerful MetaphorListen to Slate’s show about the ubiquity of spatial metaphors in our language.
Nov. 13 2012 3:43 PMFrom “Wetbacks” to “Illegals” to “Undocumented” to … ?Listen to Slate’s show about the heated debate over language at the heart of U.S. immigration policy.
Oct. 16 2012 2:58 PMMalapropisms: the Pineapple of Linguistic ErrorsWhat misspeaking might reveal about the way our mental dictionary is organized.
Sept. 18 2012 2:40 PMWho You Callin’ A**hole?Slate’s show about Geoffrey Nunberg’s new book Ascent of the A-Word, now with transcripts.
July 2 2012 2:42 PMTalking About the Past in the Present TenseListen to Slate’s show about Seinfeld’s masterful use of a time-honored narrative technique.
June 11 2012 9:57 AM“Lord Grantham, Don Draper’s on Hold”The algorithm that finds anachronisms in Downton Abbey, Mad Men, and Edith Wharton.
Aug. 12 2014 1:07 PMThe Manic Pixie and the Magical NegroListen to Slate's show about the pitfalls of coining a viral term.
July 15 2014 10:33 AMNo, Your Language Doesn’t Influence How You Experience the WorldListen to Slate’s show about The Language Hoax, in which author and linguist John McWhorter pushes back against the idea that language affects culture.
Jan. 28 2014 11:32 AMLexicon Valley: Where Did the Word Dude Come From?
Dec. 17 2013 12:45 PMThe Crowdsourcing of JFK’s Most Iconic SpeechListen to Slate's show about the crafting of President Kennedy’s inaugural address.
Aug. 6 2013 8:30 PMGrammar Scolds Unite!Embracing the hand-slapping, prescriptivist schoolmarm in all of us.
July 1 2013 1:16 PMCan Geography Affect Language?The uncanny correlation between altitude and language development.
June 17 2013 1:01 PMA Brief History of SwearingListen to Slate’s podcast about profanity and obscenity with author Melissa Mohr.
Jan. 31 2013 11:03 AMThe Disappearing New Yawk AccentListen to Pt. 2 of Slate’s show about the fall and rise of rhoticity (pronouncing your R’s) in New York City English.
Jan. 2 2013 2:35 PMDo You Creak?Listen to Slate’s show about the much-reviled phenomenon, prominent among young American women, of “creaky voice.”
Dec. 4 2012 2:39 PMTalking Leaves and Lightning PaperThe illiterate Cherokee man who invented the alphabet for his language.
Nov. 1 2012 1:27 PMHow Jews Grew HornsListen to Slate’s show about the all-important role that language translation (and mistranslation) plays in our lives.
Oct. 2 2012 11:19 AMAre Some Languages “Faster” Than Others?Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the widespread belief that other languages are spoken more rapidly than your own.
July 9 2012 7:06 PMShould We Care When a Language Dies?Listen to Slate’s show about what we stand to lose when a language goes extinct.
June 18 2012 3:51 PMDoes Your Writing Style Have a Fingerprint?Listen to Slate’s show about the surprising way mathematicians can determine authorship.
June 4 2012 2:10 PMWas Honest Abe a Poet?How Lincoln’s speaking style evolved from overly ornate to the brilliant simplicity of Gettysburg.

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