Browsing Month April, 2009

A Conversation with Roy Blount Jr.

“A Way with Words,” the public radio show about language which I co-host and co-produce, just posted an audio interview I did with humorist and author Roy Blount Jr. in which we talked, among other things, about his books, the Authors Guild, authors’ rights, the Amazon Kindle 2, catfish noodling, and whether the cancan dancers more…

Putting In A Good Word: rating words’ chances for success

I’ve got an article at Forbes this week, in which I identify some new words and gauge their chance of success. It’s part of a larger package of articles about neologisms, with articles from Jon McWhorter, Ben Zimmer, Mark Peters, and others. … New words are like grains of sand on a beach. They appear more…

Pickle is automatically a funny word

My latest column in the Malaysia Star, written for a foreign audience seeking to improve its English. … In Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys, a play about show business, one of the main characters tells another that certain words are funny all by themselves. “Words with ‘K’ in it are funny. You didn’t know that, more…

Like a Duck on a June Bug

In the latest episode of the radio program we talked about “Like a duck on a june bug,” bird names, overuse of “like,” “Good night, nurse!”, Luddites, chicken bog, keeping your eyes peeled, getting someone’s goat, an old children’s rhyme, and more.

From LOL to lulz to lolxxx

In the Malaysia Star you’ll find my latest in a series of columns in which I try to bring to light interesting slang for a non-Western audience whose English skills range from nascent to fluent. … From my desk—at which sits someone who has been on the Internet since 1992 and was a patron of more…

Latest radio episode: Dust Bunnies and Ghost Turds

Feeling fankled? It’s a Scots English word that means “messed up” or “confused.” In this week’s episode of the radio show, my co-host Martha and I discuss a whole litter of synonyms for dust bunny, a slew of different terms for the piece of playground equipment you slide on, and the proper way to refer more…