December 2010

Interview on ABC World News about noteworthy words of 2010. (Dec. 31, 2010)

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Keith Darcé, “Airport ‘Junk’ Up for Word of the Year” (San Diego Union Tribune, Dec. 30, 2010)

Junk “is a strong candidate” for the title, said Ben Zimmer, a member of the society’s executive council who writes the “On Language” column for The New York Times Magazine.

The word became a pop-culture favorite in November after Oceanside software engineer John Tyner, 31, used it as part of a warning to Lindbergh Field security agents.

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Interview on NPR’s “Morning Edition” about some candidates for Word of the Year. (Dec. 30, 2010)

The American Dialect Society announces the “word of the year” next week. Word scholars and the general public can submit “word” nominations anytime before Jan. 6. Linguist Ben Zimmer talks to Renee Montagne about words and phrases that have become a part of everyday chatter in 2010.

(Show page, audio download)

Amy S. Rosenberg, “Words to the wise: Summing up 2010” (Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 25, 2010)

“It’s exciting to have the ability to look through all of the textual output that young people are creating, to get a better handle on things,” said WOTY nominator Ben Zimmer, author of the online Visual Thesaurus and the On Language column for the New York Times Magazine. “But you need the human to tell you what’s significant.”

Read the rest here.

Appearance on MSNBC special, “Most Influential Americans of the 21st Century (so far),” talking about the word “influence.” (Dec. 24, 2010)

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski bring you a special program counting down the most influential Americans of the 21st Century (so far) as determined by a poll. But what does “influence” mean, exactly?

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Interview on WNYC’s “The Leonard Lopate Show” about the worst words of the year. (Dec. 22, 2010)

Ben Zimmer, New York Times magazine’s “On Language” columnist and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus, discusses the worst words of 2010—from “enhanced pat down” to “anchor baby” to “mama grizzly.” We’ll be speaking with listeners about the words they hope disappear with the year’s end.

(Show page, streaming audio, download, related Word Routes column)

Interview on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” about Google’s new Ngram Viewer and “culturomics” (Dec. 21, 2010)

Ben Zimmer, writer of the New York Times Magazine “On Language” column, plays with Google’s new Ngram linguistic search tool and looks through lists of comparisons.

(Show page, streaming audio, download)

Interview on WABC’s “The John Batchelor Show” about the significant words of 2010. (Dec. 17, 2010)

(Show page, audio, related Word Routes column. Segment begins at about 10 minutes in the podcast.)

Interview on WCBS Newsradio about notable words of 2010 (Dec. 17, 2010).

(Show page, related Word Routes column)

Debra Kamin, “Telling the Life Stories of Words” (University of Chicago News Office, Dec. 6, 2010)

Getting people excited about the inner lives of words is the distinctive mission for a trio of University alumni who have become ambassadors of lexicography. Harnessing their Chicago educations in linguistics and English, the three “wordinistas” are putting a public face on modern language studies.
A passion for word usage and dictionaries animates all three—Jesse Sheidlower, AB’89, Ben Zimmer, AM’98, and Erin McKean, AB’93, AM’93. All of them are helping to shape perceptions about the importance of language, each with a slightly different bent.
For Zimmer, who writes the “On Language” column for the New York Times Magazine, understanding a word means delving into its biography. He likens his work to that of an investigative reporter, unearthing stories that a broad audience would find engaging.

Read the rest here.