a child doing a cannonball at Sholem Aquatic Center
Photo Courtesy of Champaign Park District
July 23, 2013

Summer Grammarphobia

Vacation, lemonade, air-conditioning…. Ever wonder the origins of the words we use during the summertime? This hour on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with Patricia O’Conner, author of “Woe is I” about summer grammar. We welcome your grammar pet peeves and questions this hour on Focus!

January 16, 2013

Grammar and Linguistics

Dennis Baron will join us for a conversation about language. He is a professor of English at the University of Illinois, and we'll talk about the way that the English language continues to change in spite of its resistance to deliberate reform. You are invited to call with questions about grammar, and of course, complaints about misuse of the language are always welcome.

October 17, 2012

Linguistics, The English Language and Word Usage

Geoffrey Nunberg, Linguist and professor at University of California at Berkeley’s School of Information.

Host: Craig Cohen

Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg has been commenting on language, usage, and society for NPR's Fresh Air since 1988, and his commentaries on language appear frequently in the New York Times and other publications. The emeritus chair of the American Heritage Dictionary usage panel, his latest book is Ascent of the A-Word. Nunberg has also taught at Stanford University and served as a principal scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center from the mid-1980s to 2000.

July 13, 2012

Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners

Michael Erard, Ph.D., Senior Reseacher, The Frameworks Institute

Host: David Inge

Almost everyone learns at least one language as a child. Some may learn two or three. But through history there have been accounts of “super learners.” For example, Giuseppe Mezzofanti, a 19th century Italian priest, was said to speak 72 languages. Could such a feat have been possible? Is there someone alive today who could match it? Michael Erard tells the story of his search for the world’s most extraordinary language learners, the subject of his book "Babel No More."

This is a repeat broadcast from Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 11 am

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