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Ben Zimmer on Language

Language never stands still. Usage, phrasing, new words, new meanings, new “penumbras and emanations” are unending.

And it frames the way we see the world. For decades, language maven William Safire tracked the course and politics of American English in his “On Language” column for The New York Times. Last fall, the great maven died.

This weekend, his much younger successor, Ben Zimmer, steps up to the plate — ready to take on “the party of no,” the politics of yes, the verb “to Kanye,” and a whole lot more.

This hour, On Point: we’ll talk with the new language maven, Ben Zimmer.

Guest:

Ben Zimmer joins us from New York.  This Sunday he takes over The New York Times Magazine’s “On Language” column launched by William Safire in 1979. Zimmer is executive producer of VisualThesaurus and a contributor to Language Log. He was editor of American dictionaries at Oxford University Press and is a consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary.

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