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January 23 2014


How We’re Talking, Like, Today

Verbal tics, and what they say about us. “I’m just saying.” “To tell you the truth.” “As far as I know.”

Beyond the typical

Beyond the typical “kids these days” complaint, plenty of other language trends crop up regardless of age. (Erin Nekervis / Creative Commons)


Elizabeth Bernstein, Bonds columnists for The Wall Street Journal. (@EbernsteinWSJ)

James Pennebaker, professor and chair of the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Author of “The Secret Life Of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us.”

Brandt Johnson, co-founder and principal of Syntaxis, a communications skills training firm in New York City. Author of “Presentation Skills For Business Professionals.”

Kenneth Baclawski, Jr., graduate student in linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley.

From The Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Why Verbal Tee-Ups Like ‘To Be Honest’ Often Signal Insincerity – “Certain phrases just seem to creep into our daily speech. We hear them a few times and suddenly we find ourselves using them. We like the way they sound, and we may find they are useful. They may make it easier to say something difficult or buy us a few extra seconds to collect our next thought. Yet for the listener, these phrases are confusing. They make it fairly impossible to understand, or even accurately hear, what the speaker is trying to say.”

Edmonton Journal: Why all the cray-cray words? – “Have I gone cray-cray, or has English become just a little too adorbs? Peeps are buying prezzies and making restaurant rezzies, they’re sharing email addies and eating bacon sammies with their swag boyfs. They’re getting jeal cos their hubs chatted up some hottie. They’re tweeting selfies and shelfies and drelfies, liking fails, hearting pics from their BFF’s winter vacay. Totes ridic! Obvs I get that language changes. ”

New York Times: They’re, Like, Way Ahead of the Linguistic Currrrve — “The idea that young women serve as incubators of vocal trends for the culture at large has longstanding roots in linguistics. As Paris is to fashion, the thinking goes, so are young women to linguistic innovation.”

October 18 2013


Cyber-Bullying Takes A Very Real Toll

12-year old Rebecca Ann Sedwick committed suicide. Her young tormentors arrested. We’ll look at cyberbullying and the law.


Jerriann Sullivan, reporter at the Orlando Sentinel. (@JerriannOS)

Justin Patchin, professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, co-director of the Cyberbulling Research Center. Co-author of “School Climate 2.0: Preventing Cyberbullying and Sexting One Classroom at a Time” and “Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying.” (@JustinPatchin)

Sheriff Grady Judd, Polk County, FL sheriff. (@PolkCoSheriff)

Sue Shellenbarger, columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: The Teen Empathy Gap – ”‘Cognitive empathy,’ or the mental ability to take others’ perspective, begins rising steadily in girls at age 13, according to a six-year study published recently in Developmental Psychology. But boys don’t begin until age 15 to show gains in perspective-taking, which helps in problem-solving and avoiding conflict. Adolescent males actually show a temporary decline, between ages 13 and 16, in a related skill—affective empathy, or the ability to recognize and respond to others’ feelings, according to the study, co-authored by Jolien van der Graaff, a doctoral candidate in the Research Centre Adolescent Development at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Fortunately, the boys’ sensitivity recovers in the late teens. Girls’ affective empathy remains relatively high and stable through adolescence.”

Slate: Two Girls Charged With Felony Stalking in Rebecca Sedwick Suicide Case. That’s Not the Answer — “While I know that it’s very hard to try to feel compassion rather than loathing for the 12 and the 14 year old in this case right now—and that asking for it will be scorned as making excuses for them—I do think we have to try to understand what was going on behind those loathsome posts.”

Orlando Sentinel: Sheriff in Rebecca Sedwick suicide: Cut cyberbullying cord — “A day after Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced the arrest of two girls in the Rebecca Ann Sedwick suicide he appeared on the national television morning shows warning parents of the dangers of cyberbulling. He also vowed to prosecute anyone – children or adults – who commits such crimes. ‘People deserve to live a healthy, normal life,’ Judd told Robin Roberts on ’Good Morning America’. ‘We will prosecute anyone we can prove has bullied or stalked someone.’”

September 15 2013


Tavi Gevinson: Tavi's World

Tavi Gevinson was 11 when she kicked off her writing career with a fashion blog called Style Rookie. She had smart, sharp observations on fashion and visual style and the usual girl things that an 11 year old is obsessed with and she had an audience. And it was big. They were pre-teens and teenagers who had someone from their cohort who spoke to them. Gevinson was soon reporting on Fashion Weeks in Paris, London and New York and quickly got up the noses of the fashion editors and style queens. Who was this upstart 11 year old? Your first response may be to immediately dislike someone this young... with talent; and you might immediately assume that she’s as obnoxious as some soapie star. You’d be wrong. Tavi is now 17. Though it’s 17 going on 48 or 50. She’s smart, witty, erudite, with a good line in self-deprecating patter. She was a keynote speaker at the Melbourne Writers Festival and she packed out the Athanaeum Theatre with young women wearing ‘Tavi headgear’ the bunches of roses that she used to wear when she was 11 or 12, and their mums and the odd dad. Here, she’s giving her ‘fangirl’ keynote speech. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/bigideas/stories/2013/09/09/3840224.htm

December 14 2011


Children's America - Alessandro Bosetti

Imagine an America ruled by children. They staff the post offices, run the schools, oversee the military, and decide on the form of government. What does the country look like under the reign of kids? And, more importantly, what does it sound like? Composer Alessandro Bosetti, aided by a gaggle of young collaborators, decided to find out.

March 16 2011


Generation XXX: a forum about young adults, sex and internet porn

Warning: Contains material of an adult nature. Recommended for listeners 18 years and over. http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/03/11/3161592.htm?site=melbourne

October 26 2010


Selling Youth Sexuality

The cast of the hit TV show "Glee" goes soft-porn in a men’s magazine. We look at the hard debate about kids and today’s big, wild world of marketed sex.

August 27 2010


TWiT Live Specials 32: The Future Of The Web

Young entrepreneurs give their vision of the future of technology. Abby Laporte, Daniel Brusilovsky, Mark Bao, Joey Primiani and Brain Wong http://twit.tv/specials32

July 24 2010


Running Down the Barefoot Bandit

Colton Harris-Moore, a.k.a. “The Barefoot Bandit.” 19 years old. A new Jesse James. We track his story.
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