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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, Lincoln or Argo. In an age obsessed with authenticity, Nunberg argues, we often choose to nitpick over the wrong details.  Continue reading...
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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.  Continue reading...
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Trying to teach journalists the finer points of law is nearly as hard as trying to teach them the finer points of math. So the advice often is boiled down to overly simplistic "rules": A house is "burglarized," but a person is "robbed."  Continue reading...
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When it first became evident that Hurricane Sandy might merge with an inland snowstorm to create a superstorm, the creative labels started pouring in. Snowicane. Snor'eastercane. Frankenstorm. But now that the storm has shut down much of the East Coast, is it time to set aside such wordplay?  Continue reading...
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At a summer journalism workshop, young writers were thrown into the deep end of the pool but came up with impressive results. Bob Greenman recounts how the high school students that he taught proved up to the task of becoming dogged reporters.  Continue reading...
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The newest Spider-Man movie is in the theaters, with a new director, new cast, and new take on Spider-Man's origin story that invites us to forget the one presented to us back in 2002. In other words, it's not a sequel, but a reboot. In August, the remake of Total Recall arrives... or is it a reimagining? What exactly is the difference between remakes, reboots, and reimaginings?  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Further Adventures in Anachronism Hunting

The latest installment of the Lexicon Valley podcast is on one of our favorite topics: linguistic anachronisms on period TV dramas. Mike Vuolo talks to Benjamin Schmidt, who was inspired by Ben Zimmer's work on Mad Men and Downton Abbey to look more systematically at the language on these shows. Listen to the podcast here, and check out Schmidt's Prochronisms site here.
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 88 Articles