Language can inspire and move people. But it can also deceive and deflect. Our new president has often been praised for his ability to use language, while our former president was accused by opponents of "linguistic trickery."
Linguistic Professor Geoffrey Nunberg takes a closer look at our nation's political and social discourse over the past several years, revealing what it says about us.
Geoffrey Nunberg is an adjunct full professor at U.C. Berkeley's School of Information. He is also a researcher at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University, and a consulting professor in the Stanford Department of Linguistics. His linguistics research includes work in semantics and pragmatics, text classification, and written-language structure, and he also works and writes on the social and cultural implications of digital technologies.
Mr. Nunberg does a feature on language on the NPR show "Fresh Air" and has written numerous commentaries on language for the Sunday New York Times Week in Review, as well as for other periodicals. He’s also contributed occasional "letters from America" to the BBC4 series "State of the Union" and was the former chair of the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary.
The full title of his most recent book is Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show.
Linguistics professor Geoffrey Nunberg examines the mainstream media's reservations with using the word "torture" and also comments on the former administration's bureaucratization of the word by using terms like "enhanced interrogation techniques."