Parsing Politics: Geoff Nunberg on Debate-Speak

Fresh Air's resident linguist has had some thoughts lately on the language of the recent string of debates among the various presidential hopefuls. On today's show, he talks to Terry Gross about the signifiers he sees encoded in political language.

Geoff Nunberg's most recent book is Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show.

His primary reaction to the debates? "Stupefaction." The events themselves don't offer up much information, Nunberg says, though they do offer some clues about what things, and what terms, politicos think will be important as the 2008 elections loom.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.