The Republican vice presidential pick wants to take another look at programs like Medicare and Social Security. Fresh Air's resident linguist parses the word "entitlement" in its political and nonpolitical contexts.
Earlier this month, there was a national uproar when a Michigan state legislator was disciplined for using a clinical sexual term during a debate. According to linguist Geoff Nunberg, it was just one of many such incidents that reflect a trend he calls the New Reticence.
When Sarah Palin used the word "refudiate," she took a lot of flak -- both for saying she coined the word deliberately and then comparing herself to Shakespeare. Linguist Geoff Nunberg says political slips and errors aren't half as interesting as the way people react to them.