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Our National Language

The Senate version of the immigration bill includes a clause proclaiming English the national language and calling on the federal government to preserve and enhance the role of English. Our linguist, Geoff Nunberg, isn't sure this is a good idea.


Even Americans Find Some Britishisms 'Spot On.'

Adding a foreign word to your vocabulary is like adding foreign attire to your wardrobe. Sometimes you do it because it's practical and sometimes just because you think it looks cool. Linguist Geoff Nunberg says Americans' use of "spot on" falls somewhere between affectation and flash.


Steve, Myself And i: The Big Story Of A Little Prefix.

The "i" prefix began as an abbreviation for the word "Internet," but ended up being much more than that. "By the time i- was fleshed out, Apple had transformed itself from a culty computer-maker to a major religion," says linguist Geoff Nunberg.


The Ghost Of Populism Walks Again — Again

The term "populist" has been heavily used by the media lately, most often coupled with "rage," but also with "AIG" and "pitchfork." Linguist Geoff Nunberg examines the roots of the term as well as its current usage.


Geoff Nunberg: On the Stump, the Same Old Story

Linguist Geoff Nunberg offers up a few thoughts on the use of a certain C-word in current electoral rhetoric. That word is "change" and it's what all the candidates are promising. But what does it really mean?


Enumerating English

How many words are in the English language? 500,000? 1 million? Our linguist says there is no way to really count all the words. What's more, he wonders why people even care.

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