The Good Word

March 24, 2002

Want to learn a second or third language?  You don’t have to slave away in a French seminar – it only takes a minute or two to pick up “ob.”  Next time on tob-oo thob-ah bob-est ob-of ob-our knob-ow-lob-edge.  Or should I say To the Best of Our Knowledge, word games, and secret languages from pig-latin to op and ob.  Also, skunks and caucuses: the patriotic history of Webster’s revolutionary dictionary.

  1. John McWhorter on "The Power of Babel"

    Linguist John McWhorter says all six thousand contemporary languages evolved from a single source and that there’s no such thing as a pure language.

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  2. Matt Lieber on Crossword Puzzles

    Reporter Matt Lieber offers his reflections on crossword puzzles and the people who love them, from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, held in Stamford, CT in 2002.

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  3. Mike Hammond on Word Games

    Linguist Mike Hammond talks about made-up language games with Jim Fleming.  Going way beyond pig latin, we hear samples from “The Name Game,” as well as “ob” and “Geta.”

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  4. Jill Lepore on Webster's Dictionary

    Historian Jill Lepore talks with Jim Fleming about Noah Webster and his dictionary. She says Webster thought Americans should have their own language and he celebrated American words.

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