When Barack Obama intoned, “I do not underestimate the enormity of the task ahead,” some grammar sticklers recoiled. Pointing to the word’s roots, they insist that enormity means not “large,” but “out of the ordinary.” A caller who’s been following a heated online dispute about this word asks the hosts for a verdict. They give the president-elect a pass. This is part of a complete episode.
- Deviled Eggs (episode #1554) 09/14/2020: Some TV commercials launch catchphrases that stick around long after the original ads. The exclamation Good stuff, Maynard! is still a compliment almost 40 years... [more]
- Play It by Ear (episode #1553) 08/31/2020: How does social context shape our perception of language? When hiking the Appalachian Trail, a young woman from Wyoming found that fellow hikers assumed she... [more]
- Moon Palace (episode #1552) 08/17/2020: What happens in a classroom of refugee and immigrant youngsters learning English? Their fresh approach to language can result in remarkable poetry — some of... [more]
- Online Event August 27, 2020: Lemonade, Anyone? 08/04/2020: ... [more]
- Cherry Bombs (episode #1551) 07/27/2020: An ornithologist says there's a growing movement to change the name of a pink-footed bird currently called the flesh-footed shearwater. The movement reflects a growing... [more]