Sweet baby reindeer! It’s almost Christmas and we’ve got a lot of wrapping to do.

Last weekend’s episode is live online and in iTunes. In it, we shared quotations about writing, talked about whether “ladies” is offensive, speculated about “defugalty” (a spelling pronunciation of “difficulty”), the football term “pick six,” and a whole lot more. Listen now.

For Your Clicking Pleasure

• Kory Stamper, a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster, has started a blog about dictionaries and dictionary-making. She’s also sometimes the face of M-W’s “Ask the Editor” video series, including one in which she explains why X-mas isn’t really taking Christ out of Christmas.

• The number of people aged five and older in the US who speak English less than very well, according to the US Census Bureau, has increased 80 percent between 1990 and 2010 and now accounts for 9 percent of the population.

• What’s the smelling equivalent of “in sight” (close enough to see), “in earshot” (close enough to hear), and “in reach” (close enough to touch)? The community at Metafilter tries to fill this linguistic gap.

• The Linguistic Research Digest summarizes a paper by Susanne Günthner about the value of insults in creating and preserving identity and a feeling of belonging.

Behind the Scenes

Just nine days ago we started our end-of-year fundraising campaign. Our goal: $25,000 by December 30th. The show, produced by a nonprofit that receives no money from NPR nor from any station, will use the money, in part, to pay for an increase in the cost of distributing the program by satellite.

Well, we’re almost there! We’ve raised a little more than $21,000 so far! If you haven’t yet given, will you help?

You’re supporting more than a radio show. You’re supporting a community of likeminded people who believe in lifelong learning, better human communication, and the joy of a thing well-said or well written.

Make a donation here.

We say “thank you” again to those who have already given.

Happy holidays,

Martha and Grant

Tagged with →