Thursday, June 22, 2006

Interesting lecture by Katherine Barber

Katherine Barber, editor of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary and often referred to as Canada's word lady, recently gave a half-hour lecture entitled Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do with Pigs for the TV Ontario series Big Ideas, a TV program dedicated to the art of the lecture. Fortunately, for those of us, me included, who do not live in Ontario, the program also offers the audio portion of its broadcasts as a podcast. Barber's lecture--the title of which is also the title of her new book--is a brief but fascinating trip through the history of the English language. She's funny in a geeky sort of way, and she provides some really interesting examples of how and why English is such a strange and wonderful language. You can download the audio file (about 13 MB) here. I highly recommend it.

I also recommend the Big Ideas podcast itself (subscribe in iTunes here or get the XML feed here). The program has featured a wide range of speakers (including such notables as Steven Pinker and Bill Clinton) on a variety of topics. It's almost always a worthwhile listen.

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Buffy said...

I love this kind of thing.

H. W. Alexy said...

Thanks for the link, Peter, interesting, though perhaps not surprizing, to learn that our language is a word hog.


Peter Garner said...

Ooohhh.. Helm, that's a good one!