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Lexicon Valley

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Lexicon Valley is a show about language, from pet peeves, syntax, and etymology to neurolinguistics and the death of languages. Hosted by linguist John McWhorter.
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32:04 | Jul 25th, 2017

John McWhorter on the history and evolution of no and not.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.c...Show More

36:21 | Sep 3rd

Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.Curse words can reveal a lot about language. S#!t, hell and darn, to name three, contain countless linguistic lessons.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive ...Show More
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46:12 | Aug 19th

Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.From Madagascar to Easter Island, Austronesian tongues traveled far and wide with early seafarers.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts...Show More

41:53 | Aug 6th

Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.The difference between a language and a dialect is mostly meaningless and entirely political.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and...Show More

38:13 | Jul 23rd

Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.A conversation with linguist Gretchen McCulloch about her new book, Because Internet.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. S...Show More

46:19 | Jul 9th

Why is ph pronounced that way? The answer is positively phantastic.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: f...Show More

47:04 | Jun 25th

We revisit the popular notion that our language helps shapes our worldview.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFac...Show More

38:48 | Jun 11th

The word transient reveals some enduring patterns in English pronunciation and etymology.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @le...Show More

43:52 | May 28th

What an ancient, undecipherable manuscript says—and doesn't say—about Latin and its spawn.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @l...Show More

47:31 | May 14th

The letter R has a habit of intruding on spoken English. How come?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: fa...Show More

46:23 | Apr 29th

This episode is brought to you by The Great Courses. Go to thegreatcourses.com/lexicon to save 85% on “Building a Better Vocabulary.”A linguistic mystery in the Lesser Sunda Islands.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only p...Show More

35:58 | Apr 16th

A conversation with Gaston Dorren, author of Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @le...Show More

44:57 | Apr 2nd

Tonal languages evolved mostly in hot and humid places. What would explain that?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvall...Show More

38:22 | Mar 19th

What we can learn about English from am, the seemingly simplest verb.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook:...Show More

44:01 | Mar 5th

Where did Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic and their kin originate? And what is a triconsonantal root?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter:...Show More

41:40 | Feb 19th

This episode is brought to you by Babbel. Try for free today at babbel.com/lexicon.How an old word for child morphed into a versatile, and very modern, suffix.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign...Show More

43:21 | Feb 6th

This episode is brought to you by Babbel. Try for free today at babbel.com/lexicon.Some more of the many ways that neologisms form.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today a...Show More

38:50 | Jan 22nd

This episode is brought to you by Babbel. Try for free today at babbel.com/lexicon.An actually very literal discussion of true words. Really!Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free tri...Show More

45:17 | Jan 8th

English speakers have been getting it on with the F-word for centuries.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFaceboo...Show More

36:59 | Dec 25th, 2018

A New Year's meditation on a joyful word.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyE...Show More

28:50 | Dec 13th, 2018

More than half of Americans are currently living with one or more serious, preventable, chronic diseases. These rates are expected to increase significantly over the next two decades. In this episode of Life Effects, host Sara Ivry talks to Gabriel C...Show More

39:22 | Dec 11th, 2018

A conversation with Lane Greene, author of Talk on the Wild Side, about the "vague and anarchic" nature of language.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com...Show More

40:25 | Nov 27th, 2018

Our speech is becoming more childlike, but not for the reasons you think.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFaceb...Show More

46:07 | Nov 13th, 2018

How far back can we trace, with any accuracy, the spoken word?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebo...Show More

38:14 | Oct 30th, 2018

How long have we been starting our sentences with "so"?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/...Show More

32:11 | Oct 16th, 2018

This episode is brought to you by the following advertisers:Slack, a workplace communication hub. Find out more at slack.com.Babbel, the #1-selling language learning app in the world. Get 50% off your 6-month subscription today at babbel.com/lexicon....Show More

38:32 | Oct 2nd, 2018

John McWhorter dissects the many distinct features that make up Southern speech.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvall...Show More

33:41 | Sep 18th, 2018

Did you "used to" do something but don't any longer? Where does that expression come from?!Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @...Show More

39:58 | Sep 4th, 2018

This episode is brought by RXBAR, a whole-food protein bar, made from real, natural ingredients. For 25% off your first order, visit RXBAR.com/lexicon and enter promo code lexicon.Our word for "red" predates our word for "blue"—and that's true for al...Show More

41:37 | Aug 21st, 2018

John McWhorter says that English pronouns are evolving and it's time to embrace it.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconv...Show More

43:01 | Aug 6th, 2018

John McWhorter applies linguistic analysis to Looney Tunes.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook....Show More

41:23 | Jul 24th, 2018

John McWhorter on what the French Canadian version of The Flintstones can teach us about the letter T.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus....Show More

35:15 | Jul 10th, 2018

John McWhorter raises an etymological glass to the nonagenarian Oxford English Dictionary.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @l...Show More

37:37 | Jun 26th, 2018

John McWhorter on language lessons from this year's Tony nominees for Best Musical.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconv...Show More

33:30 | Jun 12th, 2018

John McWhorter on the way in which words like f*ck and sh*t are increasingly standing in for it and that.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastspl...Show More

37:57 | May 29th, 2018

John McWhorter on the tantalizing prospect of a universal language.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: f...Show More

43:17 | May 15th, 2018

A brief history of oratory from the Gilded Age to the Era of Trump.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: f...Show More

00:32 | May 9th, 2018

Lend Me Your Ears is a six-part podcast miniseries exploring how Shakespeare’s works have shaped our modern views on politics. Each month, host Isaac Butler will dig into a different Shakespeare play to explore how Shakespeare was responding to his c...Show More

36:09 | May 1st, 2018

Yes! John McWhorter on our compact, workaday affirmative.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.co...Show More

38:56 | Apr 17th, 2018

John McWhorter on why the 16th letter of our alphabet is a fancy little thing.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley...Show More

36:34 | Apr 3rd, 2018

John McWhorter on why English spelling is so frustratingly idiosyncratic.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFaceb...Show More

37:24 | Mar 20th, 2018

John McWhorter on what Washington, Franklin and Hamilton may have sounded like.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalle...Show More

35:16 | Mar 6th, 2018

John McWhorter on the rise of an exclamatory syllable in English.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: fac...Show More

34:43 | Feb 20th, 2018

John McWhorter on the rich complexities of a humble preposition.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: face...Show More

35:29 | Feb 6th, 2018

John McWhorter on the origin of woman, girl and other lady terms.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: fac...Show More

45:04 | Jan 23rd, 2018

John McWhorter on the etymology and pronunciation of English numbers.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook:...Show More

35:23 | Jan 9th, 2018

Like gangster and gangsta, nigger and nigga have become two distinct words.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFac...Show More

34:22 | Dec 26th, 2017

The problem is, is that we sometimes say is twice. Why?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/...Show More

34:30 | Dec 12th, 2017

Biblical scholar Mark Ward discusses his forthcoming book, Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/p...Show More

36:23 | Nov 28th, 2017

Turkey? Pumpkin? Squash? They're all mistakes.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconVa...Show More

32:21 | Nov 14th, 2017

Language is often at the mercy of pure chance.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconVa...Show More

32:55 | Oct 31st, 2017

It's time to permanently shelve the Elements of Style.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/L...Show More

38:08 | Oct 17th, 2017

John McWhorter answers questions from Lexicon Valley listeners.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: faceb...Show More

36:20 | Oct 3rd, 2017

After parking in front of a garage, John received a note written in Spanish.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFa...Show More

39:25 | Sep 19th, 2017

John McWhorter discusses the process by which some new languages are born.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFace...Show More

32:06 | Sep 5th, 2017

Old English was arguably more complicated than Modern English. Is that true of all languages?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter:...Show More

31:53 | Aug 22nd, 2017

Languages across the world developed similar words for mom and dad. How is that possible?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @le...Show More

37:18 | Aug 8th, 2017

The Language Conservancy's Wil Meya discusses the effort to revive Native American languages.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter:...Show More

36:05 | Jul 11th, 2017

John McWhorter explains why we love shrinkage.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconVa...Show More

29:17 | Jun 27th, 2017

John McWhorter considers the eccentric irregularity of the verb to be.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook...Show More

38:18 | Jun 13th, 2017

John McWhorter interrupts the hosts of Unorthodox to discuss hallmarks and stereotypes of Jewish communication style. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit me...Show More

31:54 | May 30th, 2017

John McWhorter talks to Ben Zimmer about the Vietnam Graffiti Project and other slangy topics.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter...Show More

30:51 | May 16th, 2017

John McWhorter discusses the near-futile impulse to determine what is, and what is not, a word.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitte...Show More

35:58 | May 2nd, 2017

John McWhorter discusses communication styles with linguist Deborah Tannen, author of You're the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women's Friendships.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Si...Show More

28:44 | Apr 18th, 2017

John McWhorter on the evolution from "crippled" to "handicapped" to "differently abled" and why no such term is likely to stick around long.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free tria...Show More

30:51 | Apr 4th, 2017

John McWhorter talks to linguist Neal Whitman about the mash-up of hey and yo.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley...Show More

32:35 | Mar 21st, 2017

John McWhorter time travels to 1930 and eavesdrops on American English.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Faceb...Show More

35:32 | Feb 7th, 2017

John McWhorter talks to sociolinguist Alexandra D'Arcy about the spike in our use of like. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: ...Show More

33:30 | Jan 24th, 2017

John McWhorter discusses the subject of his new book, Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About America's Lingua Franca.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate...Show More

32:53 | Jan 10th, 2017

Mark Seidenberg, author of Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can’t, and What Can Be Done About It, discusses the fallout from the so-called reading wars.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcast...Show More

28:43 | Dec 27th, 2016

When hath gave way to has, the original meaning of merry, and other insights from popular Christmas carols.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcasts...Show More

30:15 | Dec 13th, 2016

In Arrival, Amy Adams plays a linguist who discovers that language can radically alter one's perception of reality. But is that true? Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial toda...Show More

36:55 | Nov 29th, 2016

Are the slang, sounds, and syntax of Black English a kind of lingua franca for America's youth? Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitt...Show More

32:17 | Nov 15th, 2016

What can we learn about English from Bill Clinton, the two Bushes, and other leaders of the free world? Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplu...Show More

36:17 | Nov 1st, 2016

How our rich and complex system of second person pronouns got whittled down to just "you." Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @...Show More

34:28 | Oct 18th, 2016

What Bette Davis, FDR, and Ralph Kramden have in common when it comes to speech.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trialtoday at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.Twitter: @lexiconvalley...Show More

29:09 | Oct 4th, 2016

John McWhorter on what the intricacies of the future tense tell us about the unwritten rules of pronouns.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign upfor a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplu...Show More

26:52 | Sep 20th, 2016

John Simpson, former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, talks about life as a lexicographer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27:08 | Sep 6th, 2016

What does "Hickory Dickory Dock" really mean?  John McWhorter makes linguistic sense of seemingly arbitrary children's verse.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39:10 | Aug 23rd, 2016

How Words Hook Up and Make New OnesLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

48:13 | Aug 8th, 2016

John McWhorter talks with author Jack Lynch about the sacrilege of modified Shakespeare. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

42:04 | Jul 26th, 2016

Gretchen McCulloch talks to John McWhorter about the big meaning behind our favorite little pictograms.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

29:58 | Jul 12th, 2016

Ann Patty, author of "Living With a Dead Language: My Romance With Latin," talks about her transformative experience of learning Latin.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

33:29 | Jun 29th, 2016

Sali Tagliamonte, author of Making Waves: The Story of Variationist Sociolinguistics, talks about the underlying disorder of the English Language.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

29:37 | Jun 14th, 2016

Etymologist and poet Anatoly Liberman says that English is one of the most difficult languages to spell. But we can change that.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at w...Show More

34:27 | May 31st, 2016

Benjamin K. Bergen, author of the upcoming What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, andOurselves, discusses the science of cursing.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up...Show More

28:17 | May 17th, 2016

How an American Revolutionary War figure spawned a new name for a very old game. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconval...Show More

29:20 | May 3rd, 2016

Linguist John McWhorter argues that it makes perfect sense for the speech of black and white Americans to have subtle differences.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at...Show More

24:49 | Apr 19th, 2016

How did Clupea harengus come to signify a diversionary tactic?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign upfor a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook...Show More

29:42 | Apr 4th, 2016

The earliest known citation for “shit show” is from an English-language translation of a 1970s criminal trial in Germany. But what was the word or phrase being translated? Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, a...Show More

31:57 | Mar 8th, 2016

A salty phrase with roots in Ancient Rome has confounded English speakers for centuries. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @le...Show More

30:45 | Feb 22nd, 2016

Donald Trump calls people (and publications) he doesn’t like “sad.” When did that word become an insult?Lexicon Valley is brought to you by Blue Apron. For less than $10 per meal, Blue Apron delivers right to your door everything you need to create a...Show More

34:39 | Feb 8th, 2016

A peculiar insult from the north of England has the Oxford English Dictionary stumped.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus, a new video service with more than 5,000 lectures. As a member, you can watch as many lectures as you wa...Show More

38:07 | Jan 27th, 2016

A pronoun that English borrowed from its Scandinavian neighbors gets new life as a gender neutral alternative to he and she.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by Blue Apron. For less than $10 per meal, Blue Apron delivers right to your door everything ...Show More

38:38 | Jan 11th, 2016

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk about a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus, a new video learning service with more than 5,000 lectures. As a member of The Great Courses Plu...Show More

34:42 | Dec 28th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to editors at Oxford, Merriam-Webster, and Dictionary.com about their picks for Word of the Year.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by Headspace. If you've ever been curious about meditation or would like to reacquaint ...Show More

32:11 | Dec 14th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the early 20th-century origins of a bizarre food-industry code with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, an original science fiction podcast from Panoply and GE Podcast Theater....Show More

31:06 | Nov 30th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the energetic history of the word sleep.Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, an original science fiction podcast from Panoply and GE Podcast Theater. All of Season 1 is available now, so listen and find...Show More

30:01 | Nov 16th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a word that was popularized during the 1940s folk movement with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.

Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theater.And by Texture, the mobile ap...Show More

34:30 | Nov 2nd, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the etymological quirkiness of the word "pussy." Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theater. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only p...Show More

31:07 | Oct 19th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a piece of old American slang with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theate. And by Texture, the mobile app that lets you tap directly...Show More

34:06 | Oct 5th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to Jesse Sheidlower, author of The F-Word, about a recent discovery in the history of one our most enduring expletives. Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theater J...Show More

33:03 | Sep 21st, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Lexicon Valley is sponsored by OPEN ACCOUNT, a podcast series created by SuChin Pak and Umpqua Bank. OPEN ACCOUNT explores, through honest and sometimes comi...Show More

24:40 | Sep 7th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the true story behind the most famous municipal nickname. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitt...Show More

35:36 | Aug 24th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the origin of a Spanish-language pejorative with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Lexicon Valley is sponsored by the Great Courses, offering engaging audio and video lectures taught by top professors. Courses like "Great...Show More

31:48 | Aug 10th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss "A literary history of the strange expression 'what is it like?'"—an article by lexicographer Anne Seaton. Lexicon Valley is sponsored by the Great Courses, offering engaging audio and video lectures taught by top...Show More

39:56 | Jul 27th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Lexicon Valley is sponsored by the Great Courses, offering engaging audio and video lectures taught by top professors. Courses like "The Secret Life of Words...Show More

43:32 | Jul 13th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to journalist Jennifer Keishin Armstrong about the classic American sitcom Seinfeld and why it falls flat in other cultures and languages. Lexicon Valley is sponsored by the Great Courses, offering engaging audio and...Show More

26:45 | Jun 29th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter...Show More

49:28 | Jun 17th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss what it means that language has a "positivity bias." This week's episode is sponsored by Blue Apron, the new service that delivers all the ingredients you need to make incredible meals at home. Discover a better w...Show More

39:39 | Jun 1st, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.     This week's episode is sponsored by The Great Courses and its series "Language A to Z." Order it at 80% off the original price by visiting thegreatcourses...Show More

43:37 | May 18th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to conlanger David J. Peterson about the art and craft of creating languages for Game of Thrones.     This week's episode is sponsored by The Great Courses and its series "Language A to Z." Order it at 80% off the ori...Show More

35:18 | May 4th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the origin of the word "seersucker" with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.     This week's episode is sponsored by The Great Courses and its series "Language A to Z." Order it at 80% off the original price by visiting theg...Show More

40:04 | Apr 20th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo don't know nuthin' about the double negative.     Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com     This week's episode is sponsored by The Great Courses and its series "Langua...Show More

37:48 | Apr 6th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the origin of the word "pumpernickel" with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.     Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com     This week's episode is sponsored by The Great...Show More

38:57 | Mar 23rd, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss whether "try and" is an acceptable substitute for "try to."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

29:07 | Mar 9th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the origin of the word "carnival" with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

35:24 | Feb 23rd, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the authoress, the usherette, and the editrix with Anne Curzan, the lady professor.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

26:37 | Feb 9th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39:29 | Jan 26th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to journalist and author Masha Gessen about translating Tolstoy.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34:18 | Jan 12th, 2015

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

51:08 | Dec 29th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo are joined by Peter Sokolowski of Merriam-Webster, Katherine Martin of Oxford University Press, Jane Solomon of Dictionary.com, and Erin McKean of Wordnik.com to discuss their respective Words of the Year.Learn more about ...Show More

27:52 | Dec 15th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39:17 | Dec 1st, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to speech scientist Benjamin Munson about the "gay voice."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

35:34 | Nov 17th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

29:32 | Nov 3rd, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo ask the question: How did we go from "four and twenty" to "twenty four"? Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

44:05 | Oct 20th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

40:47 | Oct 6th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to Jonathon Green, author of The Vulgar Tongue and Green's Dictionary of Slang, a 6,000-page, three-volume reference more than 20 years in the making. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad...Show More

31:07 | Sep 22nd, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32:32 | Sep 8th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss Sarah Palin's use of demonstrative pronouns. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

26:19 | Aug 25th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a mystery word or phrase with lexicographer Ben Zimmer. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32:52 | Aug 11th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to arts critic Nathan Rabin and journalist Christopher John Farley about the phrases they coined to identify two of Hollywood's most pernicious tropes. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your a...Show More

20:55 | Jul 28th, 2014

Mike Vuolo and Bob Garfield discuss a mystery word or phrase with Vocabulary.com executive producer Ben Zimmer. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley. Follow @lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

36:35 | Jul 14th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to Columbia University professor John McWhorter about his new book, The Language Hoax. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34:11 | Mar 10th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss four legal cases in which the dictionary played a crucial part.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

38:01 | Jan 27th, 2014

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the early history of the word "dude." Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27:48 | Dec 23rd, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the many meanings of a child's "no." Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

31:57 | Dec 16th, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss JFK's Inaugural Address with Richard Tofel, author of Sounding the Trumpet. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27:00 | Dec 9th, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to linguist Arika Okrent about the most logical language ever invented. Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

03:06 | Dec 4th, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo announce the return of Lexicon Valley. Yay!Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37:06 | Aug 5th, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the irresistible pull of language pedantry.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30:27 | Jul 15th, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the relationship between tonal languages and musical acuity.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

21:30 | Jul 1st, 2013

Mike Vuolo talks with an anthropological linguist about the influence geography might have on speech.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

31:24 | Jun 24th, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the importance of talking to your child.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

26:55 | Jun 17th, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss curse words old and new with author Melissa Mohr. Show notes at slate.com/lexiconvalley.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

28:27 | Jun 10th, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the seemingly paradoxical phrase "yeah-no."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

03:27 | Jun 1st, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo announce a new run of Lexicon Valley episodes.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

03:58 | Feb 13th, 2013

Lexicon Valley will be back with a run of all-new episodes in the spring.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

31:55 | Jan 28th, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss R-dropping and the New York accent.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

24:48 | Jan 14th, 2013

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss a defining feature of the classic New York accent.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

28:33 | Dec 31st, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss creaky voice.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

29:56 | Dec 17th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss metaphor and the "fiscal cliff."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

31:06 | Dec 3rd, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the Cherokee syllabary.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

35:22 | Nov 12th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the debate over "illegal" versus "undocumented" at the heart of U.S. immigration policy.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34:33 | Oct 29th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo speak with Nataly Kelly, coauthor of Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

33:20 | Oct 15th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss what malapropisms might reveal about the way we organize our mental dictionary.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27:07 | Oct 1st, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the commonly held belief that some languages are spoken faster than others.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

27:51 | Sep 17th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to linguist Geoffrey Nunberg about his book Ascent of the A-word: A**holism, the First Sixty Years.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

03:43 | Jul 18th, 2012

Mike announces a run of all new episodes beginning later in the summer.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

23:40 | Jul 9th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss what we lose when a language goes extinct.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32:04 | Jul 2nd, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the historical present.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32:59 | Jun 18th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss stylometry.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

40:03 | Jun 11th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk about how Mad Men and Downton Abbey can teach us about language change.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32:33 | Jun 4th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the Gettysburg Address.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

28:44 | May 27th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the most significant change to the English language that you've never heard of.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39:58 | May 14th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the he said/she said of the epicene pronoun.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32:00 | May 7th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss how a simple quirk of grammar may affect the way we think.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30:30 | Apr 30th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss what it means for language to have gender.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30:19 | Apr 23rd, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the big ambitions of the word "so."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

03:27 | Apr 4th, 2012

Mike announces a batch of brand new episodes.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

35:45 | Mar 12th, 2012

Mike Vuolo talks to "Word Freak" author Stefan Fatsis about the nature of language in Scrabble.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37:22 | Mar 5th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to author David Skinner about his book, The Story of Ain't, which will be published in the fall of 2012.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

41:08 | Feb 27th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the vernacular wrapped in a dialect inside a language that some call Ebonics.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30:09 | Feb 20th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the hypercorrected incorrectness of "between you and I."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

32:47 | Feb 13th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the evolution of the word "faggot."Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

24:43 | Feb 6th, 2012

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the longstanding English language proscription against ending a sentence with a preposition.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices