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453 Segments




Resolving Speech and Class Differences

Linguist Geoff Nunberg reviews the current Broadway production of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, which stars Peter O'Toole, who, says Nunberg, turns the play from a fairy tale into a farce.


Taking Nationalism Too Far

Linguist Geoff Nunberg believes that the American disdain for foreign language education is a holdover from our isolationist past -- and a detriment to our culture.


The New Glut of Legends

Language commentator Geoff Nunberg considers the use of the word "legend," which he believes ascribes too much importance to what could more accurately be described as "fame."


On Accents in Movies

Language commentator Geoff Nunberg considers why actors adopt foreign or regional accents in film -- and why they sometimes speak in their natural voice, regardless of the part they play.


The Evolution of the English Language

Broadcast journalist Robert MacNeil is producing a new television series called The Story of English, which examines how the language is changing. His experience working in three Anglophone countries--Canada, England, and the United States--has given him unique insights into the subject. He joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk about his experiences as a journalist in conflict zones, as well as his start in television broadcasting.


Word History with John Ciardi.

Poet and essayist John Ciardi is known for his etymologies on the NPR program "Morning Edition." Ciardi joins the show to discuss his love of words and their histories.


A Language Based on Sound and Song

Ethnomusicologist Steven Feld shares soundscapes of the daily life of indigenous rain forest communities in New Guinea. He explains the importance of song as a mode of communication in the cultures he studied.


Poetry for Today with Gwendolyn Brooks.

Poet Gwendolyn Brooks was, in 1954, the first black person to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Brooks has written over fifteen books, her poetry has been widely anthologized, and has received over forty honorary doctorates. Brooks is also the Poet Laureate of Illinois. Brooks is in the are to deliver the "Marion Moore Poetry Reading" at Bryn Mawr College. Brooks discusses her career and reads some of her poetry.


Jim Quinn's Bad Language.

Jim Quinn is a journalist and writer who is currently the restaurant critic for New York's SoHo News. He is also known for his writings on language and the Philadelphia dialect. His new book "American Tongue in Cheek: A Populist Guide to Our Language," promises to defend all the language errors "you want to stamp out." He joins the show to discuss language and answer listener calls.


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