Jul 13, 2021

Introducing Lexicon Valley with John McWhorter

Click play to hear the trailer for the new Lexicon Valley, coming soon from Booksmart Studios!

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Episode details

Lexicon Valley offers a close examination of language, exploring its power to inform and misinform, to elucidate and obfuscate. Hosted by renowned Columbia University linguistics professor John McWhorter, Lexicon Valley will analyze the words and phrases that dominate our discourse and make the headlines.

Lexicon Valley host John McWhorter

John H. McWhorter is an associate professor of linguistics at Columbia University. He earned his B.A. from Rutgers, his M.A. from New York University, and his Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford. Professor McWhorter’s interests include American linguistic history, nonstandard dialects, the perceived legitimacy of languages, and the standing of language mixtures in media and education.

McWhorter has taught Columbia's Introduction to Linguistics and many other courses, including Languages in America, The Languages of Africa, Language in Society, Language Contact and the History of the English Language. He is the author of more than 20 books, most recently Nine Nasty Words: English in the Gutter — Then, Now and Forever. Others include The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Losing the Race: Self Sabotage in Black AmericaOur Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English; and Words on the Move: Why English Won't — and Can't — Sit Still (Like, Literally). He is also contributing editor at The Atlantic.

Lexicon Valley is coming this July!

If you haven’t yet, please consider a paid subscription to Booksmart Studios! It’s only $7/month or $70/year and will get you extra podcast episodes, extended guest interviews and an opportunity to engage directly with our hosts. Plus, you’ll be supporting all of the work we do here at Booksmart.

Lexicon Valley is just one of at least three shows that we’ll launch this summer. Others include:

  • Banished: An earnest and thought-provoking show about our reassessment of the many people, ideas, objects and even works of art that conflict with modern sensibilities. What can we learn about our present obsession with cancel culture by examining history, and what might it mean for freedom of expression?

  • Bully Pulpit: A wry and pointed take on politics, media and society from longtime public radio personality Bob Garfield. His astute cultural criticism, infused with wit and humor, has been called “absolutely necessary” and “very brave.”

And finally: As we craft the first season of Lexicon Valley, we want to hear from you. What topics do you want us to tackle? Which voices do you want to hear from? Simply comment below, or tweet to us at @BooksmartSocial.