John H. McWhorter
John H. McWhorter

John H. McWhorter teaches linguistics, philosophy, and music at Columbia University. His latest book is The Language Hoax.

Lexicon Valley
Oct. 18 2016 3:55 PMWhy Do People in Old Movies Talk Like That?What Bette Davis, FDR, and Ralph Kramden have in common when it comes to speech.
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 20 2016 1:26 PMWhat Is a Dictionary, Really?John Simpson, former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, talks about life as a lexicographer.
Lexicon Valley
Aug. 24 2016 9:30 AMWhy Is Colored Person Hurtful and Person of Color OK? A Theory of Racial Euphemisms.
Lexicon Valley
Aug. 8 2016 3:33 PMShould Shakespeare Get a Modern-English Update?John McWhorter talks with author Jack Lynch about the sacrilege of modified Shakespeare.
Lexicon Valley
July 12 2016 7:30 AMFinding Life in a Dead LanguageAnn Patty, author of Living With a Dead Language, talks about her transformative experience of learning Latin.
Lexicon Valley
June 14 2016 4:11 PMEnglish Spelling Is a Mess. It’s Time to Reform It.Etymologist and poet Anatoly Liberman, author of Word Origins and How We Know Them, says English is one of the most difficult languages to spell. But we can change that.
Books
Aug. 4 2015 11:09 AMFrom Tapestries to Texting BubblesMatthew Battles’ Palimpsest is a “history of the written word” that misunderstands exactly how our relationship to the written word has changed.
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 4 2016 12:03 PMBilly and Me Went to the Store. Deal With It.What do the intricacies of the future tense tell us about the unwritten rules of pronouns?
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 6 2016 5:06 PMHickory Dickory Dock: The Invisible Language of Nursery RhymesJohn McWhorter makes linguistic sense of seemingly arbitrary children’s verse.
Lexicon Valley
Aug. 23 2016 2:20 PMWord SexHow words hook up and make new ones.
Lexicon Valley
July 26 2016 2:13 PMAre Emojis a Language?Gretchen McCulloch talks to John McWhorter about the big meaning behind our favorite little pictograms.
Lexicon Valley
June 29 2016 10:44 AMRules Are Made to Be SpokenSali Tagliamonte, author of Making Waves: The Story of Variationist Sociolinguistics, talks about the underlying disorder of the English language.
Lexicon Valley
May 31 2016 12:16 PMWhy Are So Many Swear Words Monosyllabic?Benjamin K. Bergen, author of the upcoming What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves, discusses the science of cursing.