The Way We Talk Now by Geoffrey Nunberg

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This engaging collection of National Public Radio broadcasts and magazine pieces by one of America’s best-known linguists covers the waterfront of contemporary culture by taking stock of its words and phrases. From our metaphors for the Internet (“Virtual Rialto”) to the perils of electronic grammar checkers (“The Software We Deserve”), from traditional grammatical bugaboos (“Sex and the Singular Verb”) to the ways we talk about illicit love (“Affairs of State”), Geoffrey Nunberg shows just how much the language we use from day to day reveals about who we are and who we want to be.

About Geoffrey Nunberg

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Geoffrey Nunberg is a principal scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and a consulting professor in the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University. He is also chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He has published many articles in the scholarly and popular press and made numerous radio broadcasts on language and linguistics, the cultural implications of digital technologies, and language policy issues. For this work, he was given the 2001 Language, Linguistics, and the Public Interest Award by the Linguistic Society of America.
Published October 15, 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 243 pages
Genres: Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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and the current president’s “nonchalant ungrammaticality”—which, he writes, comes not from any authentic mastery of Texas patois but from the condescending WASP view that “taking pains with language [is] the unerring signal of someone who is trying too hard.” Though the pieces here, being radio f...

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