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February 14 2014

21:38

January 15 2014

00:12

twelve minute muse | exploring the creative process

  Language is powerful. Words matter. In this day of tweets, viral videos  and ’round-the-clock media, it’s easy to forget the importance of our words.  With all of the self-publishing and self-promotion, the careful choice of words, along with revision and editing are far too often kicked to the curb.  Instead, the internet is viewed as a microphone, and the race goes to the fastest and loudest. It’s the power of words that makes writing such a gift.  Use your gift wisely and carefully to build up those who grab hold of them.  Writing is work, and the writer is hardly ever around when his or her words strum the chords of the reader’s heart.  The number of books or albums sold and the number of awards won is easy to calculate, but the impact of an author’s words may never be known.   May 2014 be a productive year for you.  May your words inspire others to seek after beauty and truth. As a reminder that words matter, check out the YouTube video titled “The Power of Words.” http://www.twelveminutemuse.com/musings/

December 24 2013

08:31

Language Evolution, 2013

The year in language. Cronut. Vape. Twerk. Sharknado. We’ll look at the language that went large in 2013.

Miley Cyrus performs on NBC's

Miley Cyrus performs on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 in New York. The pop star’s dance moves lead to one of 2013′s most widely-discussed words, “twerk.” (AP)

Guest

John McWhorter, linguist, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University and contributing editor at The New Republic. Author of “The Language Hoax: Why The World Looks The Same In Any Language,” “What Language Is (And What It Isn’t And What It Could Be),” “Our Magnificent Bastard Tonuge: The Untold Story of English” and “Defining Creole.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Republic: This American Dictionary Is Full of Words You’ve Never Heard Before — “We moderns process American English differently than women who wore slips, or the men who were warning them about their expsosure. These days, there is plenty of interest in non-standard language—but today, America slangs together more. Americanisms—geographically promiscuous items such as veggietwerkselfie, and ‘My bad!’—interest us more than regionalisms such as that people call smoking marijuana smoking out on the west coast but smoking up on the east.”

The Wall Street Journal: The Most Memorable Words of 2013 — “What’s the political word of the year? For months journalists couldn’t settle on how to describe the rollout of ObamaCare. ‘Failed,’ ‘disastrous,’ ‘unsuccessful.’ In the past few weeks they’ve settled on ‘botched.’ References to the botched rollout have appeared in this paper, The Hill, NBC, Fox, NPR, the New Republic, the Washington Post and other media outlets.”

The Boston Globe: Words of the Year: Where are they now? — “Word of the Year is more than a linguistic parlor game: It’s a snapshot of a year in the culture. And this is the perfect time of year to reflect on how good those snapshots turned out to be. A successful WOTY looks great in hindsight—the beginning of something big, or at least a resonant moment in our shared history. A failed one is more like an embarrassing Christmas photo with perm and reindeer sweater.”

August 16 2013

21:36

Monica Drake

Tags: key words

August 31 2012

13:44

What’€™s a Hipster? - A Way with Words, public radio's lively language show

Get out your skinny jeans and pass the PBR! Martha and Grant discuss the definition of the word hipster. Also, what happens when you pull a brodie? And why do we describe something cheap or poorly made as cheesy? Also, sawbucks, shoestring budgets, the origins of bootlegging, and cabbie lingo, including the slang word bingo. http://www.waywordradio.org/whats-a-hipster/
13:42

A Roberta of Flax (full episode) - A Way with Words, public radio's lively language show

We have collective nouns for animals, like “a gaggle of geese,” “a pride of lions,” and “an exaltation of larks.” So why not collective nouns for plants? How about a “greasing of palms,” or a “pursing of tulips”? Also, the difference between further and farther, the proper use of crescendo, how Shakespeare sounded, and why a child’s runny nose is sometimes referred to as lamb’s legs. http://www.waywordradio.org/roberta-of-flax/
13:37

Strange Spelling Bee Words - A Way with Words, public radio's lively language show

Why do spelling bees include such bizarre, obsolete words as cymotrichous? Why is New York called the Big Apple? Also, the stinky folk medicine tradition called an asifidity bag, the surprising number of common English phrases that come directly from the King James Bible, three sheets to the wind, the term white elephant, in like Flynn, Australian slang, and what to call foam sleeve for an ice-cold beverage can. http://www.waywordradio.org/spelling-bee-words/

March 06 2011

08:31

See the Elephant (full episode) | A Way with Words

If you’re in Bangladesh, the expression that translates as “oiling your mustache in anticipation of the jackfruit tree bearing fruit” makes perfect sense. In English, it means “don’t count your chickens.” A discussion thread on Reddit with this and many other examples has Martha and Grant talking about odd idioms in other languages. A Marine stationed in California says that growing up in North Carolina, he understood the expression fixin’ to mean “to be about to.” Some office workers say their word processor’s spellchecker always flags the words overnighted and overnighting. Are those words acceptable in a business environment? “You really love peeled potatoes.” That’s a translation of a Venezuelan idiom describing someone who’s lazy. Grant and Martha share other idioms from South America. Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a word puzzle called “Blank My Blank.” A woman in Burlington, Vermont, says her mother used to use the expression land o’ Goshen! to express surprise or amazement. Where is Goshen? A Yankee transplant to the South says that restaurant servers are confused when he tells them, “I’m all set.” Is he all set to continue his meal, or all set to leave? A woman in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, remembers a ditty she learned from her mother about “thirty purple birds,” but with a distinctive pronunciation that sounds more like “Toidy poipel blackbirds / Sittin’ on a coibstone / Choipin’ and boipin’ / And eatin’ doity oithworms.” Here’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers version. Martha offers excellent writing advice from the former editor of People magazine, Landon Y. Jones. A former Texan wonders if only Texans use the terms Mamaw and Papaw instead of Grandma and Grandpa. Martha shares some Argentine idioms, including one that translates as “What a handrail!” for “What a bad smell!” A West Point graduate says he and fellow members of the military use the expression He has seen the elephant to mean “He’s seen combat.” Grant explains that this expression originated outside the military. Do you flesh out a plan or flush out a plan? Another Argentine idiom goes arrugaste como frenada de gusano. It means “You were scared,” but literally, it’s “You wrinkled like a stopping worm.” http://www.waywordradio.org/see-the-elephant/#more-1126

January 16 2011

17:48

How Science and Technology Influence Language : NPR

Have you ever been Plutoed (demoted)? Is your inbox clogged with "bacn" (spam by personal request)? Are you a lifehacker (master at optimizing everyday routines)? Jonathon Keats, artist and author of Virtual Words, explains how science and technology influence language, and vice versa. http://www.npr.org/2010/12/24/132311754/How-Science-and-Technology-Influence-Language

November 05 2010

12:21

New Words, New World - Radiolab WNYC

In the late 1970s, a new language was born. And Ann Senghas, Associate Professor of Psychology at Barnard, has spent the last 30 years helping to decode it. In 1978, 50 deaf children entered a newly formed school--a school in which the teachers (who didn't sign) taught in Spanish. No one knows exactly how it happened, but in the next few years--on school buses and in the playground--these kids invented a set of common words and grammar that opened up a whole new way of communicating, and even thinking.
Tags: words language

October 16 2010

13:46

"Words" - Radiolab, Season 8, Episode 2

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that. We meet a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke, and retrace the birth of a brand new language 30 years ago.

August 23 2010

04:12

Radiolad Podcast: Words

s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that. We speak to a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, and we hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke. Plus: a group of children invent an entirely new language in Nicaragua in the 1970s. From http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/

August 13 2010

12:44

Radiolad Podcast: Words

s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that. We speak to a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, and we hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke. Plus: a group of children invent an entirely new language in Nicaragua in the 1970s. From http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/

August 12 2010

14:36

Radiolab: Words

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2010/09/10 It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that. We speak to a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, and we hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke.

August 01 2010

22:39

Weird and Wonderful Words

In "Wordcatcher: An Odyssey into the World of Weird and Wonderful Words," Phil Cousineau delves into the curious etymologies of words ranging from the seemingly straightforward to the utterly obscure. Cousineau joins us in studio to discuss the hidden histories and meanings of the 250 words profiled in his book. An author and filmmaker, Cousineau has published 26 nonfiction books and has 15 scriptwriting credits to his name.
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