In the early 1960s, amid a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union, a burgeoning civil rights movement here at home, and a dawning countercultural revolution, America’s intellectual class was in an utter freak out over a dictionary. That’s right, the 1961 publication of Webster’s Third Edition incited otherwise sober-minded newspaper and magazine writers to declare nothing less than the end of the world. Bob Garfield and I talk to author David Skinner about his forthcoming book, The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published.
Lexicon Valley: How grammatical gender changes our thinking, and how English lost its genders. - Slate Magazine
Does talking about an object as masculine or feminine somehow cause us to think of it that way? In the second part of a Lexicon Valley series about language and gender, Bob Garfield and I discuss the fascinating research by Stanford psychologist Lera Boroditsky involving grammar and perception. We talk also about what may have happened to grammatical gender in English. That’s right, once upon a time we had grammatical gender too. But then we lost it.
Do you flinch when someone says “between you and I”? Textbook English tells us it’s ungrammatical, and yet it’s arguably more common than the officially sanctioned “between you and me.” Tennessee Williams, Mark Twain, William Shakespeare—all were guilty of using “I” when the sentence cried out for “me.” Or maybe they weren’t so guilty after all. Bob Garfield and I discuss the oft-uttered, much-maligned “between you and I.”
Have you noticed the seemingly stratospheric rise of the word “so” in recent years? People use it not only as a conjunction or an intensifying adverb—as in “That’s so awesome!”—but also to begin or end sentences in a manner pregnant with implied meaning. So … Bob Garfield and I set out to determine what this sort of “so” might in fact be accomplishing. http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/lexicon_valley/2012/04/lexicon_valley_beginning_and_ending_all_of_our_thoughts_with_so_.html