Podcast

Lexicon Valley

Lexicon Valley is a show about language, from pet peeves, syntax, and etymology to neurolinguistics and the death of languages. Hosted by linguist John McWhorter.

Episodes

  • This Family Speaks 1,200 Languages

    Aug 19 2019

    Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.From Madagascar to Easter Island, Austronesian tongues traveled far and wide with early seafarers.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Language vs. Dialect

    Aug 06 2019

    Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.The difference between a language and a dialect is mostly meaningless and entirely political.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Internet Loves the Exclamation Point!!

    Jul 23 2019

    Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.A conversation with linguist Gretchen McCulloch about her new book, Because Internet.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Why Is "Ph" Pronounced That Way?

    Jul 09 2019

    Why is ph pronounced that way? The answer is positively phantastic.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Does Language Affect Thought?

    Jun 25 2019

    We revisit the popular notion that our language helps shapes our worldview.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • A Fleeting Glance

    Jun 11 2019

    The word transient reveals some enduring patterns in English pronunciation and etymology.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Romance Languages

    May 28 2019

    What an ancient, undecipherable manuscript says—and doesn't say—about Latin and its spawn.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Why Do Some Americans Say Warshed?

    May 14 2019

    The letter R has a habit of intruding on spoken English. How come?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Flores Man vs. Sulawesi

    Apr 29 2019

    A linguistic mystery in the Lesser Sunda Islands.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Lingua Francas

    Apr 16 2019

    A conversation with Gaston Dorren, author of Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Can Climate Influence Language?

    Apr 02 2019

    Tonal languages evolved mostly in hot and humid places. What would explain that?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • When Ain't Was Alright

    Mar 19 2019

    What we can learn about English from am, the seemingly simplest verb.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Semitic Tongues

    Mar 05 2019

    Where did Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic and their kin originate? And what is a triconsonantal root?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Precious Little

    Feb 19 2019

    This episode is brought to you by Babbel. Try for free today at babbel.com/lexicon.How an old word for child morphed into a versatile, and very modern, suffix.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • When Words Collide

    Feb 06 2019

    This episode is brought to you by Babbel. Try for free today at babbel.com/lexicon.Some more of the many ways that neologisms form.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Truth Be Told

    Jan 22 2019

    This episode is brought to you by Babbel. Try for free today at babbel.com/lexicon.An actually very literal discussion of true words. Really!Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • A Penetrating History of F*%k

    Jan 08 2019

    English speakers have been getting it on with the F-word for centuries.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • When Did English Get Happy?

    Dec 25 2018

    A New Year's meditation on a joyful word.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Sponsored: Adjusting the Lens on Chronic Disease

    Dec 13 2018

    More than half of Americans are currently living with one or more serious, preventable, chronic diseases. These rates are expected to increase significantly over the next two decades. In this episode of Life Effects, host Sara Ivry talks to Gabriel Cortez, a San Francisco-based educator and poet who is one of many young people actively working against the rise of Type 2 diabetes in his community. Dr. Mercedes Carnathon, Vice Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern Universi...more

  • Why Language Can't Be Tamed

    Dec 11 2018

    A conversation with Lane Greene, author of Talk on the Wild Side, about the "vague and anarchic" nature of language.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Is Social Media Changing English?

    Nov 27 2018

    Our speech is becoming more childlike, but not for the reasons you think.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What Was the First Language?

    Nov 13 2018

    How far back can we trace, with any accuracy, the spoken word?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • So ... Let's Talk About So

    Oct 30 2018

    How long have we been starting our sentences with "so"?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Like-Minded

    Oct 16 2018

    This episode is brought to you by the following advertisers:Slack, a workplace communication hub. Find out more at slack.com.Babbel, the #1-selling language learning app in the world. Get 50% off your 6-month subscription today at babbel.com/lexicon.John McWhorter discusses the evolution of the word like.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com...more

  • Why Do Southerners Talk Like That?

    Oct 02 2018

    John McWhorter dissects the many distinct features that make up Southern speech.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Habitual Past

    Sep 18 2018

    Did you "used to" do something but don't any longer? Where does that expression come from?!Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • A Riot of Color

    Sep 04 2018

    This episode is brought by RXBAR, a whole-food protein bar, made from real, natural ingredients. For 25% off your first order, visit RXBAR.com/lexicon and enter promo code lexicon.Our word for "red" predates our word for "blue"—and that's true for almost every language!Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@s...more

  • The Rise of They

    Aug 21 2018

    John McWhorter says that English pronouns are evolving and it's time to embrace it.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Wabbit Twacks

    Aug 06 2018

    John McWhorter applies linguistic analysis to Looney Tunes.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Tee Time

    Jul 24 2018

    John McWhorter on what the French Canadian version of The Flintstones can teach us about the letter T.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Happy Birthday OED!

    Jul 10 2018

    John McWhorter raises an etymological glass to the nonagenarian Oxford English Dictionary.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • If Frozen, Why Not Squozen?

    Jun 26 2018

    John McWhorter on language lessons from this year's Tony nominees for Best Musical.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Pronouning of Profanities

    Jun 12 2018

    John McWhorter on the way in which words like f*ck and sh*t are increasingly standing in for it and that.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • One Tongue to Rule Them All

    May 29 2018

    John McWhorter on the tantalizing prospect of a universal language.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Art of the Spiel

    May 15 2018

    A brief history of oratory from the Gilded Age to the Era of Trump.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lend Me Your Ears: Julius Caesar

    May 09 2018

    Lend Me Your Ears is a six-part podcast miniseries exploring how Shakespeare’s works have shaped our modern views on politics. Each month, host Isaac Butler will dig into a different Shakespeare play to explore how Shakespeare was responding to his current events, and how they map onto our own.In this first episode, Lend Me Your Ears is looking at one of Shakespeare’s most accessible works: Julius Caesar. Why was the Bard so fascinated with the fall of the Roman Republic? Why do we tend to turn ...more

  • Getting to Yes

    May 01 2018

    Yes! John McWhorter on our compact, workaday affirmative.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Story of P

    Apr 17 2018

    John McWhorter on why the 16th letter of our alphabet is a fancy little thing.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • English Spelling Is a Beautiful Mess

    Apr 03 2018

    John McWhorter on why English spelling is so frustratingly idiosyncratic.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Did the Founding Fathers Have a British Accent?

    Mar 20 2018

    John McWhorter on what Washington, Franklin and Hamilton may have sounded like.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • No-Uh!

    Mar 06 2018

    John McWhorter on the rise of an exclamatory syllable in English.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Inner Workings of Out

    Feb 20 2018

    John McWhorter on the rich complexities of a humble preposition.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Words, For Her

    Feb 06 2018

    John McWhorter on the origin of woman, girl and other lady terms.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What's the Deal with Eleven?

    Jan 23 2018

    John McWhorter on the etymology and pronunciation of English numbers.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • There Are Two N-Words

    Jan 09 2018

    Like gangster and gangsta, nigger and nigga have become two distinct words.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Thing Is Is

    Dec 26 2017

    The problem is, is that we sometimes say is twice. Why?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • An Accidental Sanctity

    Dec 12 2017

    Biblical scholar Mark Ward discusses his forthcoming book, Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Thanksgiving Misnomers

    Nov 28 2017

    Turkey? Pumpkin? Squash? They're all mistakes.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Sometimes Just Because

    Nov 14 2017

    Language is often at the mercy of pure chance.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Against Strunk & White

    Oct 31 2017

    It's time to permanently shelve the Elements of Style.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Whence Baby Mama?

    Oct 17 2017

    John McWhorter answers questions from Lexicon Valley listeners.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Este No Es Parqueo

    Oct 03 2017

    After parking in front of a garage, John received a note written in Spanish.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • From Pidgins to Creoles

    Sep 19 2017

    John McWhorter discusses the process by which some new languages are born.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Do Languages Simplify Over Time?

    Sep 05 2017

    Old English was arguably more complicated than Modern English. Is that true of all languages?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Did Cavebabies Say Mama and Papa?

    Aug 22 2017

    Languages across the world developed similar words for mom and dad. How is that possible?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • New Life for Dying Languages

    Aug 08 2017

    The Language Conservancy's Wil Meya discusses the effort to revive Native American languages.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • In the Negative

    Jul 25 2017

    John McWhorter on the history and evolution of no and not.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Why Do Languages Have Contractions?

    Jul 11 2017

    John McWhorter explains why we love shrinkage.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Incredible Lightness of Being

    Jun 27 2017

    John McWhorter considers the eccentric irregularity of the verb to be.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Is There a Jewish Way of Talking?

    Jun 13 2017

    John McWhorter interrupts the hosts of Unorthodox to discuss hallmarks and stereotypes of Jewish communication style. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Mining Graffiti for Slang

    May 30 2017

    John McWhorter talks to Ben Zimmer about the Vietnam Graffiti Project and other slangy topics.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • That's Not a Word, Is It?

    May 16 2017

    John McWhorter discusses the near-futile impulse to determine what is, and what is not, a word.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Language of Female Friendships

    May 02 2017

    John McWhorter discusses communication styles with linguist Deborah Tannen, author of You're the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women's Friendships.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Euphemism Treadmill

    Apr 18 2017

    John McWhorter on the evolution from "crippled" to "handicapped" to "differently abled" and why no such term is likely to stick around long.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Heyo, Let's Talk About Hamilton

    Apr 04 2017

    John McWhorter talks to linguist Neal Whitman about the mash-up of hey and yo.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Earlier American English—More Profane, Parochial and Provincial

    Mar 21 2017

    John McWhorter time travels to 1930 and eavesdrops on American English.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Like, Why Do We Use Like So Much?

    Feb 07 2017

    John McWhorter talks to sociolinguist Alexandra D'Arcy about the spike in our use of like. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What Had Happened Was Storytelling

    Jan 24 2017

    John McWhorter discusses the subject of his new book, Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About America's Lingua Franca.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Why We Stopped Teaching Children How to Read

    Jan 10 2017

    Mark Seidenberg, author of Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It, discusses the fallout from the so-called reading wars.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Away in a Penthouse, the Little Lord Jesus

    Dec 27 2016

    When hath gave way to has, the original meaning of merry, and other insights from popular Christmas carols.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What "The Wizard of Oz" Can Tell Us About "Arrival"

    Dec 13 2016

    In Arrival, Amy Adams plays a linguist who discovers that language can radically alter one's perception of reality. But is that true? Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Black Like Us

    Nov 29 2016

    Are the slang, sounds, and syntax of Black English a kind of lingua franca for America's youth? Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Language Lessons of Past Presidents

    Nov 15 2016

    What can we learn about English from Bill Clinton, the two Bushes, and other leaders of the free world? Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Whither Didst Thou Go?

    Nov 01 2016

    How our rich and complex system of second person pronouns got whittled down to just "you." Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Why Do People Talk Like That in Old Movies?

    Oct 18 2016

    What Bette Davis, FDR, and Ralph Kramden have in common when it comes to speech.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trialtoday at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Billy and Me Went to the Store. Deal With It.

    Oct 04 2016

    John McWhorter on what the intricacies of the future tense tell us about the unwritten rules of pronouns.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign upfor a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What Is a Dictionary, Really?

    Sep 20 2016

    John Simpson, former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, talks about life as a lexicographer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Invisible Language of Nursery Rhymes

    Sep 06 2016

    What does "Hickory Dickory Dock" really mean?  John McWhorter makes linguistic sense of seemingly arbitrary children's verse.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Word Sex

    Aug 23 2016

    How Words Hook Up and Make New OnesLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Should Shakespeare Get a Modern English Update?

    Aug 08 2016

    John McWhorter talks with author Jack Lynch about the sacrilege of modified Shakespeare. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Are Emoji a Language?

    Jul 26 2016

    Gretchen McCulloch talks to John McWhorter about the big meaning behind our favorite little pictograms.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Finding Life in a Dead Language

    Jul 12 2016

    Ann Patty, author of "Living With a Dead Language: My Romance With Latin," talks about her transformative experience of learning Latin.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Rules Are Made to Be Spoken

    Jun 29 2016

    Sali Tagliamonte, author of Making Waves: The Story of Variationist Sociolinguistics, talks about the underlying disorder of the English Language.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Tragedy of English Spelling

    Jun 14 2016

    Etymologist and poet Anatoly Liberman says that English is one of the most difficult languages to spell. But we can change that.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Your Brain on Profanity

    May 31 2016

    Benjamin K. Bergen, author of the upcoming What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, andOurselves, discusses the science of cursing.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot!

    May 17 2016

    How an American Revolutionary War figure spawned a new name for a very old game. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Blaccent: What Does It Mean to Sound Black?

    May 03 2016

    Linguist John McWhorter argues that it makes perfect sense for the speech of black and white Americans to have subtle differences.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • A Wild Goose Chase that Stinks from Fish

    Apr 19 2016

    How did Clupea harengus come to signify a diversionary tactic?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign upfor a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Defecation Presentation

    Apr 04 2016

    The earliest known citation for “shit show” is from an English-language translation of a 1970s criminal trial in Germany. But what was the word or phrase being translated? Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Take This Episode with a Grain of Salt

    Mar 08 2016

    A salty phrase with roots in Ancient Rome has confounded English speakers for centuries. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Full, Firm, Valiant, and Heavy-Hearted Trump

    Feb 22 2016

    Donald Trump calls people (and publications) he doesn’t like “sad.” When did that word become an insult?Lexicon Valley is brought to you by Blue Apron. For less than $10 per meal, Blue Apron delivers right to your door everything you need to create a home-cooked meal. Farm-fresh ingredients are perfectly portioned and come with an easy to follow recipe card—so you can create a delicious dinner in 40 minutes or less. Visit BlueApron.com/lexicon to get your first two meals free.And by Texture...more

  • A British Insult Fit for Trump

    Feb 08 2016

    A peculiar insult from the north of England has the Oxford English Dictionary stumped.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus, a new video service with more than 5,000 lectures. As a member, you can watch as many lectures as you want on any device. And for a limited time, Lexicon Valley listeners can watch The Fundamentals of Photography for free by visiting TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/lexicon.And by Blue Apron. For less than $10 per meal, Blue Apron delivers right to yo...more

  • They Had a Good Year

    Jan 27 2016

    A pronoun that English borrowed from its Scandinavian neighbors gets new life as a gender neutral alternative to he and she.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by Blue Apron. For less than $10 per meal, Blue Apron delivers right to your door everything you need to create a home-cooked meal. Farm-fresh ingredients are perfectly portioned and come with an easy to follow recipe card—so you can create a delicious dinner in 40 minutes or less. Visit BlueApron.com/lexicon to get your ...more

  • The Curious Case of a Conspiratorial Coinage

    Jan 11 2016

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk about a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus, a new video learning service with more than 5,000 lectures. As a member of The Great Courses Plus, you can watch as many lectures as you want, anytime, anywhere, on any device. For a limited time, Lexicon Valley listeners can watch The Fundamentals of Photography for free by visiting TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/lexicon.And by Headspace. If you've e...more

  • Tears of Joy, Identity, and a Prism of Isms

    Dec 28 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to editors at Oxford, Merriam-Webster, and Dictionary.com about their picks for Word of the Year.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by Headspace. If you've ever been curious about meditation or would like to reacquaint yourself with the practice, then go to Headspace.com/lexicon and try the Take 10 program. It's guided meditation for 10 days—10 minutes a day—absolutely free. Give it a try at Headspace.com/lexicon.And by Club W, leading the "grape to glass" wine rev...more

  • Sleeping Hobos in a Tent, Rush 'Em!

    Dec 14 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the early 20th-century origins of a bizarre food-industry code with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, an original science fiction podcast from Panoply and GE Podcast Theater. All of Season 1 is available now, so listen and find out why a 70-year-old alien recording seems to be killing people. Search for The Message on iTunes. And by Texture, the mobile app that lets you tap directly into the world's most popular mag...more

  • Snoozefest

    Nov 30 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the energetic history of the word sleep.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, an original science fiction podcast from Panoply and GE Podcast Theater. All of Season 1 is available now, so listen and find out why a 70-year-old alien recording seems to be killing people. Search for The Message on iTunes.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign upfor a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcas...more

  • Woody Guthrie's Folk Etymology

    Nov 16 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a word that was popularized during the 1940s folk movement with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.

Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theater.And by Texture, the mobile app that lets you tap directly into the world's most popular magazines, anywhere, using your phone or tablet. Dive deeper into Vogue, People, Esquire, Time, and more, with interactive content for a richer reading experience. Right now, try Texture for ...more

  • A Cat, a Coward, and Female Genitalia

    Nov 02 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the etymological quirkiness of the word "pussy." Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theater. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • A Drone, a Bell, and a Suffix

    Oct 19 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a piece of old American slang with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theate. And by Texture, the mobile app that lets you tap directly into the world's most popular magazines, anywhere, using your phone or tablet. Dive deeper into Vogue, People, Esquire, Time, and more, with interactive content for a richer reading experience. Right now, try Texture for free at Texture.com/lexicon....more

  • Seven Centuries of F--ks

    Oct 05 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to Jesse Sheidlower, author of The F-Word, about a recent discovery in the history of one our most enduring expletives. Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theater Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more...more

  • An Ambitious Enterprise, Quixotic and Unavailing

    Sep 21 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Lexicon Valley is sponsored by OPEN ACCOUNT, a podcast series created by SuChin Pak and Umpqua Bank. OPEN ACCOUNT explores, through honest and sometimes comical interviews, our uncomfortable silence around money. OPEN ACCOUNT  is available now on iTunes. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. T...more

  • How New York Became the Big Apple

    Sep 07 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the true story behind the most famous municipal nickname. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Why Do Latin Americans Call English Speakers Gringos?

    Aug 24 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the origin of a Spanish-language pejorative with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Lexicon Valley is sponsored by the Great Courses, offering engaging audio and video lectures taught by top professors. Courses like "Great Masters," which delves into the life and music of well-known musicians and composers—including Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky. Right now, choose from among four of the Great Masters lecture series for just $9.95 when you visit thegreatco...more

  • What Do You Mean What Is It Like?

    Aug 10 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss "A literary history of the strange expression 'what is it like?'"—an article by lexicographer Anne Seaton. Lexicon Valley is sponsored by the Great Courses, offering engaging audio and video lectures taught by top professors. Courses like "Great Masters," which delves into the life and music of well-known musicians and composers—including Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky. Right now, choose from among four of the Great Masters lecture series for just...more

  • LinguaFile XIV | Heebie Jeebies

    Jul 27 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Lexicon Valley is sponsored by the Great Courses, offering engaging audio and video lectures taught by top professors. Courses like "The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins." Right now, get up to 80 percent off the original price when you visit thegreatcourses.com/lexicon. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial to...more

  • What's the Deal with Translating Seinfeld?

    Jul 13 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to journalist Jennifer Keishin Armstrong about the classic American sitcom Seinfeld and why it falls flat in other cultures and languages. Lexicon Valley is sponsored by the Great Courses, offering engaging audio and video lectures taught by top professors. Courses like "The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins." Right now, get up to 80 percent off the original price when you visit thegreatcourses.com/lexicon. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus...more

  • LinguaFile XIII | Bozo

    Jun 29 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.comLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Pollyanna Hypothesis

    Jun 17 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss what it means that language has a "positivity bias." This week's episode is sponsored by Blue Apron, the new service that delivers all the ingredients you need to make incredible meals at home. Discover a better way to cook. Visit BlueApron.com/lexicon to get your first two meals free. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley F...more

  • LinguaFile XII | Kibitz

    Jun 01 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.     This week's episode is sponsored by The Great Courses and its series "Language A to Z." Order it at 80% off the original price by visiting thegreatcourses.com/lexicon.         Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.     Twitter: @lexiconvalley   Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley   Email: lex...more

  • M'athchomaroon, Zhey Lajak Vezhven!

    May 18 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to conlanger David J. Peterson about the art and craft of creating languages for Game of Thrones.     This week's episode is sponsored by The Great Courses and its series "Language A to Z." Order it at 80% off the original price by visiting thegreatcourses.com/lexicon.     And by Blue Apron, the new service that delivers all the ingredients you need to make incredible meals at home. Discover a better way to cook. Visit BlueApron.com/lexicon to get your first two ...more

  • LinguaFile XI | Seersucker

    May 04 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the origin of the word "seersucker" with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.     This week's episode is sponsored by The Great Courses and its series "Language A to Z." Order it at 80% off the original price by visiting thegreatcourses.com/lexicon.     Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.     Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: ...more

  • Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

    Apr 20 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo don't know nuthin' about the double negative.     Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com     This week's episode is sponsored by The Great Courses and its series "Language A to Z." Order it at 80% off the original price by visiting thegreatcourses.com/lexicon.     Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.  Lear...more

  • LinguaFile X | Pumpernickel

    Apr 06 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the origin of the word "pumpernickel" with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.     Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com     This week's episode is sponsored by The Great Courses and its series "The Story of Human Language." Order it at 80% off the original price by visiting thegreatcourses.com/lexicon.     Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial...more

  • And Infinitum

    Mar 23 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss whether "try and" is an acceptable substitute for "try to."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • LinguaFile IX | Carnival

    Mar 09 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the origin of the word "carnival" with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Sex Workers

    Feb 23 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the authoress, the usherette, and the editrix with Anne Curzan, the lady professor.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • LinguaFile VIII | Quiz

    Feb 09 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Many Lives of Anna Karenina

    Jan 26 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to journalist and author Masha Gessen about translating Tolstoy.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • LinguaFile VII | Cockamamie

    Jan 12 2015

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Exposure to Vape Culture

    Dec 29 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo are joined by Peter Sokolowski of Merriam-Webster, Katherine Martin of Oxford University Press, Jane Solomon of Dictionary.com, and Erin McKean of Wordnik.com to discuss their respective Words of the Year.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • LinguaFile VI | Grog

    Dec 15 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • What Does It Mean to Sound Gay?

    Dec 01 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to speech scientist Benjamin Munson about the "gay voice."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • LinguaFile V | Get One's Goat

    Nov 17 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Number Theory

    Nov 03 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo ask the question: How did we go from "four and twenty" to "twenty four"? Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • LinguaFile IV | Snark

    Oct 20 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Man on the Street

    Oct 06 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to Jonathon Green, author of The Vulgar Tongue and Green's Dictionary of Slang, a 6,000-page, three-volume reference more than 20 years in the making. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • LinguaFile III | Orange

    Sep 22 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Demonstratively Speaking

    Sep 08 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss Sarah Palin's use of demonstrative pronouns. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • LinguaFile II | Lagniappe

    Aug 25 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • The Manic Pixie and the Magical Negro

    Aug 11 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to arts critic Nathan Rabin and journalist Christopher John Farley about the phrases they coined to identify two of Hollywood's most pernicious tropes. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • LinguaFile I | Discombobulate

    Jul 28 2014

    Mike Vuolo and Bob Garfield discuss a mystery word or phrase with Vocabulary.com executive producer Ben Zimmer. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley. Follow @lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley No. 38: Fisherman's Whorf

    Jul 14 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to Columbia University professor John McWhorter about his new book, The Language Hoax. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley No. 37: Legislating Language

    Mar 10 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss four legal cases in which the dictionary played a crucial part.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley No. 36: The Dude Abides

    Jan 27 2014

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the early history of the word "dude." Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley No. 35: Learning to Say No

    Dec 23 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the many meanings of a child's "no." Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley No. 34: Ask Not Who Wrote "Ask Not"

    Dec 16 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss JFK's Inaugural Address with Richard Tofel, author of Sounding the Trumpet. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley No. 33: The End of Ambiguity

    Dec 09 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to linguist Arika Okrent about the most logical language ever invented. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley: Special Announcement

    Dec 04 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo announce the return of Lexicon Valley. Yay!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley No. 32: The Burden of Being Right

    Aug 05 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the irresistible pull of language pedantry.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley No. 31: Name That Tone

    Jul 15 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the relationship between tonal languages and musical acuity.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley No. 30: Eject at High Altitude

    Jul 01 2013

    Mike Vuolo talks with an anthropological linguist about the influence geography might have on speech.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #29: 30 Million By Four

    Jun 24 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the importance of talking to your child.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #28: A Brief History of Swearing

    Jun 17 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss curse words old and new with author Melissa Mohr. Show notes at slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #27: Accentuate the Positive

    Jun 10 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the seemingly paradoxical phrase "yeah-no."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Special Announcement

    Jun 01 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo announce a new run of Lexicon Valley episodes.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Special Announcement

    Feb 13 2013

    Lexicon Valley will be back with a run of all-new episodes in the spring.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #26: The Fawth Flaw, Part II

    Jan 28 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss R-dropping and the New York accent.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #25: The Fawth Flaw

    Jan 14 2013

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a defining feature of the classic New York accent.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #24: Get Your Creak On

    Dec 31 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss creaky voice.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #23: Good Is Up

    Dec 17 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss metaphor and the "fiscal cliff."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #22: Talking Leaves and Lightning Paper

    Dec 03 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the Cherokee syllabary.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #21: Undocumented Illegals

    Nov 12 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the debate over "illegal" versus "undocumented" at the heart of U.S. immigration policy.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #20: Death to Potatoes

    Oct 29 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo speak with Nataly Kelly, coauthor of Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #19: Here's to You Mrs. Malaprop

    Oct 15 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss what malapropisms might reveal about the way we organize our mental dictionary.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #18: The Rate of Exchange

    Oct 01 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the commonly held belief that some languages are spoken faster than others.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #17: Ascent of the A-word

    Sep 17 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to linguist Geoffrey Nunberg about his book Ascent of the A-word: A**holism, the First Sixty Years.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Special Announcement from Lexicon Valley

    Jul 18 2012

    Mike announces a run of all new episodes beginning later in the summer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #16: Our Dying Words

    Jul 09 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss what we lose when a language goes extinct.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #15: Then Is Now, Now and Then

    Jul 02 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the historical present.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #14: By Their Words You Shall Know Them

    Jun 18 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss stylometry.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #13: Capturing the Past

    Jun 11 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk about how Mad Men and Downton Abbey can teach us about language change.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #12: The Eloquence of Plain English

    Jun 04 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the Gettysburg Address.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #11: When Being Done Replaced Doing

    May 27 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the most significant change to the English language that you've never heard of.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #10: One Giant Leap for Humanity

    May 14 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the he said/she said of the epicene pronoun.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #9: And May He Be a Masculine Bridge

    May 07 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss how a simple quirk of grammar may affect the way we think.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #8: When Nouns Grew Genitals

    Apr 30 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss what it means for language to have gender.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #7: A Needle Pulling Thread

    Apr 23 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the big ambitions of the word "so."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Special Announcement from Lexicon Valley

    Apr 04 2012

    Mike announces a batch of brand new episodes.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #6: A Meditation on Scrabble

    Mar 12 2012

    Mike Vuolo talks to "Word Freak" author Stefan Fatsis about the nature of language in Scrabble.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #5: Untuning the String

    Mar 05 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to author David Skinner about his book, The Story of Ain't, which will be published in the fall of 2012.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #4: Jumpin' Salty in The O

    Feb 27 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the vernacular wrapped in a dialect inside a language that some call Ebonics.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #3: Consider the Lamppost

    Feb 20 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the hypercorrected incorrectness of "between you and I."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #2: A Bundle of Faggots

    Feb 13 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the evolution of the word "faggot."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • Lexicon Valley #1: A Sin of Which None Is Guilty

    Feb 06 2012

    Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the longstanding English language proscription against ending a sentence with a preposition.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices