PLEDGE NOW
Ben Zimmer on Language

Language never stands still. Usage, phrasing, new words, new meanings, new “penumbras and emanations” are unending.

And it frames the way we see the world. For decades, language maven William Safire tracked the course and politics of American English in his “On Language” column for The New York Times. Last fall, the great maven died.

This weekend, his much younger successor, Ben Zimmer, steps up to the plate — ready to take on “the party of no,” the politics of yes, the verb “to Kanye,” and a whole lot more.

This hour, On Point: we’ll talk with the new language maven, Ben Zimmer.

Guest:

Ben Zimmer joins us from New York.  This Sunday he takes over The New York Times Magazine’s “On Language” column launched by William Safire in 1979. Zimmer is executive producer of VisualThesaurus and a contributor to Language Log. He was editor of American dictionaries at Oxford University Press and is a consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 29, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joined by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina waves during a rally in Indianapolis, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, when Cruz announced he has tapped Fiorina to serve as his running mate. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Trump and Hillary wins. Bernie lays off. Cruz chooses Carly. Beyonce drops “Lemonade.” Our weekly news roundtable goes beyond the headlines.

Apr 29, 2016
Screengrab from the #MorethanMean video produced by Sarah Spain and Julie Dicaro. Scroll down to view the video.

Women pushing back. A video by two female sports reporters about online harassment goes viral.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 28, 2016
Detail of the National Debt Clock, a billboard-size digital display showing the increasing US debt, on Sixth Avenue August 1, 2011 in New York.  US Vice President Joe Biden said Monday he was confident that Congress would approve a major austerity plan to avoid a debt default as he met with skeptical members of his Democratic Party.AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Beyond the campaign sound and fury, how do we really solve our biggest national problems? One smart citizen thinker weighs in- with you.

 
Apr 28, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a Women for Hillary event in New York, Monday, April 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Hillary Clinton and the women’s vote. How it’s broken against Bernie Sanders. How it might play out against Donald Trump.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
‘Embedded’: How Violent Gangs Are Terrorizing El Salvador
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016

NPR’s Kelly McEvers on her reporting in El Salvador for the podcast Embedded, and how gang killings brought San Salvador’s bus service to a halt.

More »
Comment
 
That Cheap Dress On Facebook? It Isn't Worth It
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Know those shockingly cheap clothes you see advertised on Facebook? There’s a catch.

More »
Comment
 
The Boston Globe Imagines — And Rejects — A President Trump Front Page
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

The Boston Globe editorial page imagines — and rejects — President Donald Trump.

More »
Comment