The Years of Talking Dangerously

May 28, 2009 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

years_talking_dangerRussell Smith mentions Nunberg’s new book in his Globe and Mail column:

The linguist Geoffrey Nunberg . . .  in his new book, The Years of Talking Dangerously , questions, “Is play the same word when it refers to a theatre play, a baseball play, a fair play and a stock-market play? Is it the same word in playing the violin, playing third base and playing someone for a sucker? Is player different words when it refers to Barry Bonds and Puffy Combs?” Nunberg argues that we like to believe stories that tell us English has the largest vocabulary and is the most influential global language simply out of chauvinism – in particular because Americans are proud of the international allure of their popular culture.

Smith’s column also mentions that the English language is scheduled to pass the million-word mark in 12 days — on June 10.  Lingtastic.

Published by Public Affairs

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