Query on Language Columns in Media

Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Mon May 16 04:50:18 UTC 2011

Just to comment on Arnold's point and on the impressive list he's
assembled, I think the shape of discourse about language has really
changed in the last few years, as the space that has opened up between
what were formerly distinct public and private spheres has filled with
a range of new voices. LanguageLog is probably the most pointed
example. Its audience isn't nearly on the scale of the  NYTimes or
NPR, but in certain ways it -- and in particular Mark Liberman --  can
exert more influence on public discourse than either of them, for
example in countering the million-word march, the Obama pronoun hokum
and the gals-just-talk-more flim-flam, as searches readily show. I'll
grant you those canards haven't exactly been driven into the sea. But
it's so much easier for linguists to diffuse their views both within
informed opinon and to the media than it was even fifteen years ago,
when linguists would have had no recourse but sit by the phone hoping
the press would call for comments or publish books that with a few
exceptions wouldn't have gotten much of a readership, and that in any
case wouldn't have appeared until years after the fact.

That said, Arnold, I assume you're going to put this list somewhere
where it won't scroll out of sight as  you post new things!


> On May 15, 2011, at 5:44 AM, Larry Horn wrote:
>> At 6:08 PM -0400 5/14/11, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
>>> I would welcome help with the following query:  With the demise of
>>> the much-lamented "On Language" columns in the New York Times and
>>> Chicago Tribune, what are remaining language columns in major
>>> newspapers or other media such as magazines, radio shows, or major
>>> blogs?  Some that I know of include Boston Globe (Jan Freeman),
>>> Visual Thesaurus (Ben Zimmer), and "A Way With Words" radio show
>>> (Grant Barrett).
>> and Geoff Nunberg's "Fresh Air" spots (public radio).  Many many
>> blogs; probably our own part-time bloggers Ben, Arnold or Neal could
>> fill in a list of the major players.  I assume you're counting
>> Language Log,
> add Barbara Wallraff's "Word Court" in the Atlantic Monthly.
> the Boston Globe column now has both Jan Freeman and Erin McKean.
> "A Way with Words" is Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett.
> the web resources are now enormous.  i'm assembling a list to post
> on my blog, but for highlights:
> on his website, Geoff Nunberg lists, besides Language Log: Keywords,
> The Web of Language, Double-Tongued Dictionary, Michael Erard,
> LanguageHat, Fritinancy, Mr. Verb, Kai von Fintel, Phonoloblog, Ben
> Zimmer, and Arnold Zwicky.
> to which i'd add (at least) Neal Whitman, Lynne Murphy, and John
> McIntyre.  plus Jan Freeman/Erin McKean and Martha Barnette/Grant
> Barrett, already mentioned.
> arnold

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