Geoff Nunberg

Geoff Nunberg is the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

He teaches at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley and is the author of The Way We Talk Now, Going Nucular, Talking Right and The Years of Talking Dangerously. His most recent book is Ascent of the A-Word. His website is www.geoffreynunberg.com.

Geoff Nunberg, the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, is the author of the book The Years of Talking Dangerously.

"My choice of words was not the best," Rush Limbaugh said in his apology. That's the standard formula for these things — you apologize not for what you said but for the way you said it.

Geoff Nunberg, the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, is the author of the book The Years of Talking Dangerously.

If the word of the year is supposed to be an item that has actually shaped the perception of important events, I can't see going with anything but occupy. It was a late entry, but since mid-September it has gone viral and global. Just scan the thousands of hashtags and Facebook pages that begin with the word: Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Slovakia. Occupy Saskatoon, Sesame Street, the Constitution. Occupy the hood.

Steve Jobs did his last product launch last March, for the iPad 2. At the close, he stood in front of a huge picture of a sign showing the intersection of streets called Technology and Liberal Arts.

It was a lifelong ideal for Jobs, the same one that had drawn him to make his famous 1979 visit to the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, or Xerox PARC for short. That was where a group of artistically minded researchers had developed the graphical user interface, or GUI, which Apple's developers were to incorporate into the Lisa and the Macintosh a few years later.

Geoff Nunberg, the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, is the author of the book The Years of Talking Dangerously.

"Class warfare" was a dodgy phrase from the outset. In one of the most famous sentences in the history of political thought, Marx and Engels wrote in their 1848 Communist Manifesto: "The history of all society up to now is the history of..."

Geoff Nunberg, the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, is the author of the book The Years of Talking Dangerously.

They were instant cliches, but they needed saying anyway. September 11 was our Pearl Harbor. It would change the way we think and create a new normal. It defined a generation. And from the beginning, people looked to the language to bear witness to how utterly differently we were seeing the world.

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