The Way We Talk Now
Commentaries on Language and Culture from NPR's Fresh Air
By Geoffrey Nunberg
Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780618116027, 243pp.
Publication Date: October 2001
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This engaging collection of National Public Radio broadcasts and magazine pieces by one of America’s best-known linguists covers the waterfront of contemporary culture by taking stock of its words and phrases. From our metaphors for the Internet (Virtual Rialto”) to the perils of electronic grammar checkers (The Software We Deserve”), from traditional grammatical bugaboos (Sex and the Singular Verb”) to the ways we talk about illicit love (Affairs of State”), Geoffrey Nunberg shows just how much the language we use from day to day reveals about who we are and who we want to be.
"Nunberg offers homages and brickbats to the popular culture, especially as it is spoken and written." Kirkus Reviews
"Nunberg . . . discusses usage and its abuses in brief, delightful essays." Minneapolis Star-Tribune
[A] lighthearted but pithy analysis of the changing ways Americans talk and write." Columbus Dispatch
"Never fails to revealhistory embedded in languagehis acuity and fixation on funny pop-phenomena keep the book fresh." Publishers Weekly
"Humorous commentaries about language in the United States." Library Journal
"Most occasional pieces lose their freshness in hard covers, but Geoffrey Nunberg's commentaries on languageare a happy exception." Boston Globe
"Contains [Nunberg's] ruminations on the strange twists and turns of English as spoken in America." Columbus Dispatch
"He brings a refreshing blunt iconoclasm to the eternal debate over proper English." Columbus Dispatch
"In a chatty, accessible style, he takes American catchwords and colloquialisms and turns them into signifiers of shared experience." Philadelphia City Paper