Geoffrey Nunberg

Geoffrey Nunberg is a linguist and an adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information. He is the author of Ascent of the A-Word.
  • Don Harrison & the UpNorth Memories Collection / …

    When Slang Becomes a Slur

    The linguist who testified against the Redskins in their trademark proceedings explains why the team's name can't be separated from historical hatreds.

  • The Decline of Grammar

    Every one has noticed the way in which the Times chooses to spell the word “diocese;” it always spells it diocess, deriving it, I suppose, from Zeus and census. The Journal des Débats might just as well write “diocess” instead of “diocese,” but imagine the Journal des Débats doing so! Imagine an educated Frenchman indulging himself in an orthographical antic of this sort, in face of the grave respect with which the Academy and its dictionary invest the French language! Some people will say these are little things; they are not; they are of bad example. They tend to spread the baneful notion that there is no such thing as a high, correct standard in intellectual matters; that every one may as well take his own way; they are at variance with the severe discipline necessary for all real culture; they confirm us in habits of wilfulness and eccentricity, which hurt our minds, and damage our credit with serious people.—Matthew Arnold in “The Literary Influence of Academies,” 1865