Geoff Nunberg

Linguist/Commentator, Fresh Air

Geoff Nunberg is the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

He teaches at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley and is the author of The Way We Talk Now, Going Nucular, Talking Right and The Years of Talking Dangerously. His most recent book is Ascent of the A-Word. His website is

[+] read more[-] less

Are people starting sentences with "so" more frequently than ever or are we just noticing it more? Leigh Wells/Ikon Images/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Leigh Wells/Ikon Images/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has promised to "tell it like it is" during his presidential campaign. Mel Evans/AP hide caption

toggle caption Mel Evans/AP

Nathan J. Marcisz of Marion, Ind., focuses intently as he spells a word during the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Alex Wong/Getty Images

Martin Starr plays software designer Gilfoyle in the HBO comedy Silicon Valley. In the show's new season, Gilfoyle and his fellow techies attend a startup competition named "Disrupt." Frank Masi/HBO hide caption

toggle caption Frank Masi/HBO

Bryan Henderson, who goes by Giraffedata, has written a 6,000-word essay on his Wikipedia user page explaining why he thinks "comprised of" is an egregious error. iStock hide caption

toggle caption iStock

Geoffrey Nunberg says technology makes it seem as if we're always being watched, which is creepy. Ralf Hirschberger/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Ralf Hirschberger/AFP/Getty Images

Workers walk on a giant presidential election map of the U.S. made of ice in the skating rink at Rockefeller Center in 2004. The media still use "red" and "blue when talking about the electoral map, but not for a deep cultural divide. Kathy Willens/AP hide caption

toggle caption Kathy Willens/AP

Protesters in San Francisco block a Google bus, which shuttles employees from the city to its location in Silicon Valley. cjmartin/Flickr hide caption

toggle caption cjmartin/Flickr

Decades ago, the SAT test was seen as a measure of raw ability, not as something students ought to cram for. Now, test prep is a huge industry. Linguist Geoff Nunberg wonders what exactly students learn when they're flipping through vocabulary flashcards. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Mario Tama/Getty Images

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a "selfie" with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt during the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 3. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Scott Gries/Scott Gries/Invision/AP

A conference attendee tries Google Glass during the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco in May. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor