Posted in: 2023

195. My Bonds and Mutual Funds Are Doing Great, but My Stonks Are Way Down

I’m solo today and the topic is the English language, specifically one of its very recent words: stonk. It’s a nice case study of one of the ways in which new words come into the language. First, they’re known by only a few people; then there’s a niche who know about the meme (if it was coined online, as stonk was); and then it starts to gain some acceptability (appears in dictionaries, for example).
Words We're Watching: The Story Behind "Stonks": Buying Low and Selling High in the Meme Market

What Meme Man Looks Like

Urban Dictionary


Memes Dictionary

Posted in: 2023

181. A Few More Words: Doomscrolling

I talk about the word doomscrolling and make some searches in dictionaries, in a linguistics corpus, and in Google advanced search to try to get an idea of when it first started being used. I end with a brief etymology of the very old word, doom itself.

Merriam-Webster: Words We’re Watching
“On ‘Doomsurfing’ and ‘Doomscrolling’”


NOW Corpus (News on the Web)

The Decibel
“The Problems with the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive”

Posted in: 2023

164. How Was Your Weekend, Fin de Semaine, or Fine Settimana?

I discuss the recent announcement by the Italian government that it is introducing legislation to levy fines on those who use foreign terms, when there is an Italian equivalent, in official documents. I also talk about similar prescriptive tendencies by the governments of France and of the province of Quebec in Canada.


"Italian government seeks to penalize the use of English words" (CTV News)

Grande dizionario della lingua italiana

Dictionnaire de l’Académie française

Vitrine linguistique (Office québécois de la langue française)

Oxford English Dictionary

Posted in: 2022

93. Dictionaries, and Changes and Development in the English Language

My guest today is Dr. Valerie Fridland, who is a professor of linguistics in the English department at the University of Nevada, Reno. She’s also more publically engaged than many linguists, with a regular column in Psychology Today, and an upcoming book called—you heard it here first!—Like, Literally, Dude, which is about modern English, its beauties and controversies, and how it changes and adapts. This is the first part of my conversation with her: you can hear the rest on Friday in episode 94.