With all our texting, tweeting and social media posting, billions of people are using typed words for the kind everyday communication that used to happen more often in conversation. A new book argues that we’ve created a unique new language to reproduce the shades of meaning that we used to convey verbally. Our linguist Geoff Nunberg reflects on the new rules of language that he calls chat-speak.
President Trump has a penchant for breathing new life into expressions with troubled pasts, like "America first" and "enemy of the people." It's not likely his uses of those phrases will survive his presidency. But he may have altered the political lexicon more enduringly at a Houston rally two weeks before the elections, when he proclaimed himself a "nationalist" and urged his supporters to use the word.
"Great Britain and the United States are two nations separated by a common language." That's the stock witticism, but if you ask me, it gets things backwards. Great Britain and the U.S. are more like two nations united by a divided language — or more precisely, by their mutual obsession with their linguistic differences. For 200 years now, writers from each nation have been tirelessly picking over the language of the other, with a mix of amusement, condescension, derision and horror.