Lexicon Valley: Why we think we can’t end a sentence with a preposition. - Slate Magazine

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  1. 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.


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  2. Lexicon Valley: Why we keep saying “between you and I.” - Slate Magazine

    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.”


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  3. Lexicon Valley: Beginning and ending all of our thoughts with “so.” - Slate Magazine

    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

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  4. Lexicon Valley: What it means for a language to have grammatical gender. - Slate Magazine

    Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode No. 8: When Nouns Grew Genitals Subscribe in iTunes ∙ RSS feed ∙ Download ∙ Play in another tab ∙ Play in Stitcher Languages all across the world have what’s called grammatical gender, which means simply that nouns get divvied up into different categories or “classes.” Sometimes those…


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  5. Lexicon Valley: The role of language in Scrabble. - Slate Magazine

    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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  6. Lexicon Valley: Seeking a gender neutral alternative to he and she. - Slate Magazine

    In the third and final installment of our Lexicon Valley series about language and gender, Bob Garfield and I discuss the ongoing quest for a single, more equitable alternative to “he” and “she.” Since at least the 1850s, English speakers have made many unsuccessful attempts to introduce an epicene pronoun into the language. But University of Michigan professor Anne Curzan argues that we don’t need such a word, since we already have a perfectly acceptable, if controversial, alternative—just use “they.” Don’t like that solution? Maybe she’ll convince you.


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  7. Lexicon Valley: Webster’s Third, the most controversial dictionary ever published. - Slate Magazine

    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.


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  8. Lexicon Valley: The historical present in Seinfeld and the novels of Charlotte Bronte

    Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode No. 15: "Then Is Now, Now and Then." Do you ever catch yourself talking about past events in the present tense? Linguists call it the “historical present.”


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  9. Lexicon Valley: resolving authorship controversies in the federalist papers and the wizard of oz - Slate Magazine

    Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode No. 14: “By Their Words You Shall Know Them.” Subscribe in iTunes ∙ RSS feed ∙ Download ∙ Play in another tab Is it possible that your writing style is identifiably unique? In the late 1800s, a Polish philosopher named Wincenty Lutosławski imagined a “future science of stylometry,”…


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  10. Lexicographer Ben Zimmer on the etymology of taking something with a grain of salt.

    Listen to Lexicon Valley Episode No. 81: Subscribe in iTunes ∙ RSS feed ∙ Download ∙ Play in another tab Slate Plus members: Get your ad-free podcast f …


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