April 2011

Interview on WCBS Newsradio on new “green lingo” for Earth Day. (Apr. 22, 2011)

(Show page, related Word Routes column)

Interview on WCBS Newsradio about the controversy over words in the new English translation of the Catholic liturgy. (Apr. 15, 2011)

(Show page, related Word Routes column)

Interview on BrianLehrer.tv (broadcast on CUNY TV) about how tech companies co-opting common words. (Apr. 13, 2011)


(Show page, video, related Week in Review article)

Interview on WNYC’s “The Takeaway,” quizzing the hosts on their knowledge of American vocabulary. (Apr. 13, 2011)

Ben Zimmer, Executive Producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com is putting John and Celeste to the test by asking them to identify the real definition of words with truly American origins. Could you identify absquatulate, callithump and copacetic?

(Show page, streaming audio, download)

eSchoolNews, “Thinkmap Launches Vocabulary.com, Revolutionizing Vocabulary Instruction” (Apr. 11, 2011)

“For too long, vocabulary instruction has been tied to inefficient and tedious methods of the past — rote memorization, flashcards, and dry word lists with no context,” said Ben Zimmer, executive producer of Vocabulary.com. “We’ve started from scratch to create a system that models each person’s vocabulary and abilities so that we can serve up a personalized learning experience that is both engaging and effective.”

Read the rest here.

Interview on WCBS Newsradio about New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey’s way with words. (Apr. 8, 2011)

(Show page, related Word Routes column)

Interview on “The Conversation” with Ross Reynolds (KUOW Seattle) about new words that people love and hate. (Apr. 4, 2011)

Hang around the proverbial office water cooler these days and you hear words like ‘ginormous’ or ‘chillax.’ What new words do you love? What words do you hate? And what’s the dividing line between slang and conventional English in 2011? Does someone need to call the language police? We’ll take your phone calls and talk about words with language guru Ben Zimmer.

Part 1: Show page, RealAudio, mp3, download
Part 2: Show page, RealAudio, mp3, download

Slanguage,” back-page essay in the New York Times Book Review on the latest in slang dictionaries. (Apr. 3, 2011)

Back in 1937, when Eric Partridge’s groundbreaking “Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English” was first published, The New York Times Book Review ran a glowing notice. “The lost words of the language have finally come to roost,” it began. “The unmentionables are mentioned and carefully placed in proper alphabetical form.”

Now, nearly 75 years later, can a slang dictionary possibly hope to uncover any “lost words”? Are there any unmentionables left to mention?

Read the rest here.

Interview on WCBS Newsradio about the uproar over the use of the word “gooder” in a commercial for Gain laundry detergent. (Apr. 1, 2011)

(Show page, related Word Routes column)

Interviewed by New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus about slang dictionaries for the weekly Books podcast. (Apr. 1, 2011)

This week: A special conversation with Henry Kissinger about Otto von Bismarck; the linguist Ben Zimmer on a new dictionary of slang; Julie Bosman has notes from the field; and Jennifer Schuessler has best-seller news.


(Artsbeat post, audio)