linguistics

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond

“I wanted to start teaching this course because I wanted a way to engage students in linguistics without having to actually teach them linguistics.  I wanted a kind of pop-culture back road into linguistics.  Also I’m a huge Star Trek fan.”

zolierdos via Flickr Creative Commons

Language evolves. Try reading Chaucer or Shakespeare, or even watching an early 20th-century movie and listen for the words or expressions that have grown obsolete and others that take on new meanings or popularity. You may not refer to a bar-fight as a ‘brannigan,’ for example, but you might say, “‘hang out’ with a friend” …that last phrase was invented way back in the eighteen forties. Linguist and author Arika Okrent compiled a list of words that are much older than they sound for “The Week,” and she told us a little more about them.

Breaking news! Experts say there’s a lot wrong with new media journalism. According to the Daily Beast’s Michael Moynihan, the real crime being committed by online journalists is overused, over-hyped language. He joins us to share his linguistic pet-peeves. Some critics say it's one of the most unbiased and nonpartisan exclusives Word of Mouth has ever featured.