Happy National Grammar Day
, all you grammar-heads! To celebrate, you might enjoy reading through the contributions to the annual Grammar Haiku Contest
. (Congratulations to the winners — full results are here
). And check out Jen Doll's piece for The Atlantic Wire
about how best to celebrate the day (featuring an interview with our own Ben Zimmer
On NPR's Morning Edition, Ari Shapiro reported on how the debate over gun restrictions in the United States is powerfully framed by terms such as "gun control" and "gun rights." Our own Ben Zimmer
is interviewed about how language shapes such political debates. Listen to the segment here
, and check out a list of "loaded words" from the gun debate here
On the NPR program "Fresh Air," Berkeley linguist Geoff Nunberg turned to a topic that is one of our favorites: assessing the linguistic accuracy of period dramas, whether it's Downton Abbey
, Mad Men
. In an age obsessed with authenticity, Nunberg argues, we often choose to nitpick over the wrong details.
The "Today Show" visited Boston on Friday, and as part of the show they included a segment on the accent of the city, so immediately recognizable and so often imitated (but rarely well!). And who did they turn to for background on how the accent came to be? Our very own Ben Zimmer.
"Across America, independent coffee bars have developed private vocabularies to describe the intricate beverages they brew and the idiosyncrasies of those who order them," writes Ben Schott in Sunday's New York Times. Schott presents an "Op-Art" revealing some of this local barista slang, from "crushtomer" to "bro 'spro." Check it out here
The NBC comedy "30 Rock" is ending its seven-season run, and Slate's Browbeat blog
has an appreciation of the show's linguistic legacy, from "Blergh!" to "I want to go to there." And check out what our euphemism-wrangler Mark Peters had to say about the show in his column, "Good God, Lemon! A 30 Rock Euphem-palooza
President Obama was officially sworn in to a second term by Chief Justice John Roberts yesterday in a private ceremony at the White House. Afterwards, Obama's daughter Sasha told him, "You didn't mess up." But four years ago, the oath didn't go so smoothly, thanks to a misplaced adverb. Ben Zimmer covered the oath flub for his Word Routes column. Read it here: "Taking the Oath of Office... Faithfully.