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Stay Tuned for Language Mavenry
It's been a whirlwind week since the official announcement that I would be taking over the "On Language" column in the New York Times Magazine, the old stomping grounds of the late lamented Language Maven, William Safire. I'm grateful for all of the warm messages of congratulation I've received, and I also remain cognizant that in taking over Safire's column, I have extremely big shoes to fill.
The Times has publicized the news of my arrival with a generous introduction from Magazine editor Gerald Marzorati, and I've also been making the media rounds, with appearances on public radio stations from Boston to Southern California. Today (Friday the 19th), I close out the week with an NPR twofer, appearing on "Morning Edition" nationwide and "The Brian Lehrer Show" here in New York. New Yorkers can also can catch me this weekend on the NY1 show "New York Times Closeup."
My debut as "On Language" columnist also appears today on the Times website today — all about how the elemental words yes and no can come to stand for much larger forces, from getting to yes to the party of no. In the weeks that my column appears, I'll also be answering reader questions online. The first question I have selected to answer is, "If avuncular means 'like an uncle,' what word means 'like an aunt'?" It allowed me to delve into a topic I first looked at here on Word Routes last year, when I wrote about Walter Cronkite, the avuncular anchorman.
As mentioned in the announcement, I'll be writing the "On Language" column on a biweekly basis. (That's once every two weeks, by the way — fortnightly, as the Brits would say — not twice a week, which would be semiweekly.) This arrangement allows me to maintain my job as executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com, and as part of that I'll continue to write my Word Routes column here on a regular basis. For a word nerd like me, it's a dream come true to be able to cultivate an online community of like-minded linguaphiles. And now, being able to continue Safire's legacy of language mavenry in the Times — well, that's just the icing on the cake.
[Update: the audio for my "Morning Edition" interview is now available online.]