November 12, 2013 The flap over the Kentucky senator's articles and speeches is just the latest in a series of cases of plagiarism by high-profile journalists and politicians. Linguist Geoff Nunberg looks at the way the word plagiarism has been used since it was invented by the Romans and wonders if it's always immoral or just bad form.
September 12, 2013 When dictionaries add trendy words like "twerk," they're prioritizing the fleeting language habits of the young, says Geoff Nunberg. And our fascination with novel words tends to eclipse subtle changes in the meanings of old ones — "which are often more consequential," he says.
August 5, 2013 The new eyeglass frames allow you to take pictures and browse the Internet while you wear them. Early adopters focused on the tiny screens have already been dubbed "glassholes." Fresh Air linguist Geoff Nunberg reminds us that in Shakespeare's time "distraction" was another word for madness.
June 21, 2013 Whether it's logs of phone calls or GPS data, commentator Geoff Nunberg says it still says a lot about who you are: "Tell me where you've been and who you've been talking to, and I'll tell you about your politics, your health, your sexual orientation, your finances," he says.