The author and educator has written a new book call "A Man Without Words." It's a first-person account of her struggle to teach sign language to a deaf man who had reached adulthood without anyone making any effort to teach him how to communicate.
Anne Soukhanov is the Executive Editor of the new "American Heritage Dictionary of English Language, Third Edition." She's been a lexicographer and editor of reference books for over 20 years. She joins Fresh Air to talk about what new words say about changing culture.
Author James Crawford has spent many years investigating the English Only movement. His most recent book is "Hold Your Tongue: Bilingualism and the Politics of English Only." It explores the underlying racism of an English Language Amendment. He has also edited "Language Loyalties," a comprehensive collection of the major issues and policies surrounding the bilingualism debate.
The tenth edition of "Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary," is out. Terry talks about pronunciation with one of the book's associate editors, Brian Sietsema -- and examines how recent Fresh Air guests say particular words.
Steven Pinker, a psycholinguist at MIT and director of its Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, has a new book on how language works: "The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language" (Morrow). He argues that language is not simply a cultural invention taught by parents and schools, but a biological system, --an instinct-- partly learned, and partly innate. To Pinker, a three year old toddler is a "grammatical genius", capable of obeying adult rites of language, similar to web-spinning in spiders or sonar in bats.
Speech Therapist Sam Chwat. Chwat's New York Speech Improvement Services attracts 200 to 250 clients a week. He taught Robert DeNiro how to gain an Appalachian accent for his role in "Cape Fear." Julia Roberts sought him out to relearn her southern drawl for "Steel Magnolias." He helped another southerner, Andie McDowell, after her lines for "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan" were dubbed by Glenn Close.
Chwat's "New York Speech Improvement Services" attracts 200 to 250 clients a week. He taught Robert DeNiro how to gain an Appalachian accent for his role in "Cape Fear." Julia Roberts sought him out to relearn her southern drawl for "Steel Magnolias." He helped another southerner, Andie McDowell, after her lines for "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan" were dubbed by Glenn Close. Chwat also assists people in business, politics, and communications to lose their accents and learn Standard American English.
Tannen is the author of the bestselling, "You Just Don't Understand." She has a new book about communication between the sexes, "Talking From 9 to 5: How Women's and Men's Conversational Styles Affect Who Gets Heard, Who Gets Credit, and What Gets Done at Work."
Professor Michael Kazin's new book, "The Populist Persuasion: An American History," explores the rise and change of populism and its effect on the political structure. He examines populism's roots as a leftist, liberal movement, and how populist ideas came to be used as rhetoric of conservative Presidents Nixon and Reagan.
Linguist and author Naomi S. Baron. Her book, "Growing up with Language" (Addison-Wesley publishers, 1992) examines the process by which children learn to use language. Baron is Professor of Linguistics and associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at the American University in Washington DC. (Interview by Barbara Bogaev)