Nerd used to be a term of derision, connoting someone who was socially awkward and obsessed with a narrow field of interest. Now it’s used more admiringly for anyone who has a passion for a particular topic. Linguists call that type of softening amelioration. This is part of a complete episode.
- Lie Like a Rug 08/26/2017: The words we choose can change attitudes — and change lives. A swing-dance instructor has switched to gender-neutral language when teaching couples. He says that... [more]
- Pig Latin 08/19/2017: Grant and Martha discuss the L-word — or two L-words, actually: liberal and libertarian. They reflect different political philosophies, so why do they look so... [more]
- Whistle in the Dark 08/12/2017: The language and melodies of military marching songs connect grown children with their parents who served, as do parents' love letters from World War II.... [more]
- Chocolate Gravy 08/05/2017: Say you have an acquaintance you always see at the dog park or the playground. But one night, you run into them at the movies,... [more]
- Fickle Finger of Fate 07/29/2017: A young woman wants a family-friendly way to describe a statement that's fraudulent or bogus, but all the words she can think of sound old-fashioned.... [more]