Lexicon Valley

A close examination of language — its power to inform and misinform, to elucidate and obfuscate — from renowned Columbia University linguistics professor John McWhorter. A true polymath, McWhorter analyzes the words and phrases that dominate our discourse and make the headlines. For extra content, including bonus episodes and written columns, please consider becoming a paying subscriber to Booksmart Studios! http://www.booksmartstudios.org/subscribe

Happy Days Are HereListen now | Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss what it means to be happy, both lexicographically and philosophically.
But Wait, There's More!Listen now | John gets a day off, and you get a treat.
BONUS: In Language, Context Is KingListen now | Successful communication is often about supplying enough information, but not too much.
That's Not What Irony Means, AlanisListen now | Unpredictability is at the heart of how we understand language.
BONUS: Television’s 'Handicap' MomentListen now (4 min) | An early 1980s episode of The Jeffersons shows the “euphemism treadmill” in action.
Can You Play “Jew” in Scrabble?Listen now | In the wake of #metoo and BLM, word games have undergone their own racial reckoning.
BONUS: On the Difference Between Males and FemalesListen now (3 min) | Sometimes perceived linguistic analogies are actually linguistic misconceptions.
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