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

A*#holes and B%tchesListen now | The persistence of gender in English, from honorifics to insults.
BONUS: 23,000 Year Old Footprints Help Solve a Vexing Linguistic RiddleListen now (5 min) | Languages throughout the American subcontinents are finally starting to make sense.
The debate over CRT has become a debate over definitions.
On the Singular 'They' and Slippery SlopesListen now | Language change is disruptive, disorienting and exciting — don't fear the singular "they."
BONUS: Ridiculing Old People About SexListen now (8 min) | Untraceable words, unusual infixes — and some rather specific vocabulary — make the Aslian languages among the more fascinating.
The Pandemic's Effect on LanguageListen now (28 min) | Do Covid masks make it difficult to understand speech? That depends on your language.
BONUS: The First Writing SystemsListen now (4 min) | How do you unlock an undecipherable alphabet?
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