Is master a gender-neutral title? James from Seattle, Washington, hosts a local pub quiz night, where he’s known as the Quizmaster. But, he wonders, would it be appropriate to call a woman a Quizmaster? Of course! Many titles, like Postmaster or even actor, have come to be gender-neutral. We wouldn’t say Quizmistress because mistress has taken on a specific connotation–namely, the female lover of a married man. For more on gender and language, Grant recommends University of Michigan professor Ann Kurzan’s book Gender Shifts in the History of English. This is part of a complete episode.
- Abso-Bloomin-Lutely (episode #1526) 06/03/2019: The autocomplete function on your phone comes in handy, of course. But is it changing the way we write and how linguists study language? Also,... [more]
- Niblings and Nieflings (episode #1525) 05/14/2019: How do actors bring Shakespeare's lines to life so that modern audiences immediately understand the text? One way is to emphasize the names of people... [more]
- Kite in a Phone Booth (episode #1524) 04/29/2019: Stunt performers in movies have their own jargon for talking about their dangerous work. They refer to a stunt, for example, as a gag. Across... [more]
- Kids Are Asking (episode #1523) 04/11/2019: Questions from young listeners and conversations about everything from shifting slang to a bizarre cooking technique. Kids ask about how to talk about finding information... [more]
- Strawberry Moon (episode #1522) 04/08/2019: We asked for your thoughts about whether cursive writing should be taught in schools — and many of you replied with a resounding "Yes!" You... [more]