September 2010

WCBS Newsradio, “Busted”

September 24, 2010

Interview on WCBS Newsradio about the use of the word “busted” to describe BP’s Gulf oil well (Oct. 1, 2010).

(Show page, streaming audio, related On Language column)

The Economist, “Chunking”

September 20, 2010

Johnson, the language blog of The Economist, follows up on the latest On Language column about “chunking” and language learning.

BEN ZIMMER left his usual popular topics (the language of “Mad Men” and so forth) in his column this weekend to look at some linguistics—specifically, on “chunking“. According to Mr Zimmer’s read of the literature, kids learn language in bigger pieces than we think. We assume language is assembled in the brain primarily in word-word-word form, but instead it may come in more pre-assembled phrases than we have previously realised.

Read the rest here.

The New York Times excerpts a clip from the recent Bloggingheads discussion of the linguistic authenticity of “Mad Men.”

John McWhorter, left, of The New Republic and Benjamin Zimmer of The New York Times discuss the language of “Mad Men.”

Watch the New York Times clip here, and watch the entire Bloggingheads conversation here.

WCBS Newsradio, “Chunking”

September 17, 2010

Interview on WCBS Newsradio about new research on how we learn language by “chunking” (Sep. 17, 2010).

(Show page, streaming audio, related On Language column)

Conversation with John McWhorter for Bloggingheads.tv on a range of linguistic issues, from new approaches to the teaching of English to Obama’s Indonesian skills to the language of “Mad Men.”

Johnson, the language blog of The Economist, follows up on the latest On Language column about the expression “man up.”

BEN ZIMMER has a great piece in the New York Times on the inexorable rise of the phrasal verb to man up. He traces its history from innocuous origins as an elongated version of the non-phrasal transitive to man (ie, “to supply with manpower”), through a stint as a technical American-football term relating to man-to-man defence, to today’s imperative man up! with its gamut of meanings ranging from “don’t be a sissy” to “do the right thing; be a mensch.”

Read the rest here.