Does Scrabble in fact celebrate language? Or does it merely reduce English to a set of mathematical symbols and probability calculations? In the final episode of our first series of Lexicon Valley podcasts, I talk to Word Freak author and competitive Scrabble player Stefan Fatsis about how a math game disguised as a word game nevertheless unlocks the essential beauty of the English language.
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In this week’s podcast, the U.S.Census Bureau is firing on all linguistic cylinders to ensure that non-English speakers are counted in this year’s census. Things don’t always go smoothly: in Vietnamese, the word “census” got translated into something closer to “investigation”. Also, how to pronounce that unpronounceable Icelandic volcano, Scrabble obsession beyond the English-speaking world, and five unique Japanese expressions.