Friday, June 15, 2012
Mad Men's fifth season is over. From it's start, part of the show's allure has been the way it meticulously creates Manhattan in the 1960’s. Period specific language is part of that, but verbal anachronisms sneak in with surprising frequency. In this excerpt of the Lexicon Valley podcast, Bob Garfield and former OTM producer Mike Vuolo discuss the linguistic anachronisms in Mad Men.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Back by popular demand, here's another installment of Mike Vuolo's "Lexicon Valley." In February 2010, the last living speaker of Boa died, and with her, the logic, culture, and history of the ancient people. Mike and Bob discuss the death of languages and why their passing matters.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Wow, such smart and informed comments on our language segment (and a few quibbles, which, let's be honest, are totally fair when discussing such matters). Speaking of quibblers, one of the most vocal 19th-century detractors of the then-encroaching progressive passive was a man named Richard Grant White, a Shakespeare scholar who wrote a book called, “Words and Their Uses, Past and Present.” In it, he declared that such constructions as is being done or was being built “affront the eye, torment the ear, and assault the common sense of the speaker of plain and idiomatic English.” Ouch. Here’s another good example of the esteemed passival from T.B. Macaulay’s “The History of England from the Accession of James II”:
It was much noticed that, while the foulest judicial murder which had disgraced even those times was perpetrating, a tempest burst forth, such as had not been known since that great hurricane which had raged round the death-bed of Oliver.
On another note, thanks to all who have expressed an interest in more installments of Lexicon Valley, which I'd describe as a kind of summer experiment – a fling that, with enough encouragement, could blossom into a full romance. I love talking about language and to Bob and so I thought, heck, I should talk to Bob about language. We may air one or two more short episodes on OTM and then explore ways to continue it as a podcast. Feel free to leave your suggestions here in the comments. As for now, a late lunch is preparing.