What Makes a Word “Real?”

988669_10152882434160652_1893030052_nWelcome to another Tuesday with TED. Today we have English professor and linguist Anne Curzan who asks: what makes a word real? Curzan is a collector of slang words, a dissector of colloquialisms and a charter of language evolution. To put it most simply, she is a Professor of English at the University of Michigan who studies how the English language works and how it has changed over time. As she puts it in her talk, “The English language is rich, vibrant, and filled with the creativity of the people who speak it.”

In addition to sitting on the usage panel for American Heritage dictionary since 2005, Curzan is also an author—her latest book is called Fixing English: Prescriptivism and Language History. She also co-hosts the show “That’s What They Say” on Michigan Radio, all about language and grammar, and writes regularly for The Chronicle of Higher Education’s language blog, Lingua Franca.

Curzan is the kind of professor who actually encourages her students to use slang in class. Don’t miss this fascinating talk on the evolution of language.

Did this change how you view new words? What new words are your favorites? Which ones do you dislike? Leave a comment below.

Until next time,
Cynthia Patton

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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