February 09, 2007

Thursday night and Friday morning

The event last night at the Free Library of Philadelphia ("Abusage and Usage") was a lot of fun. More than 300 people showed up, despite the cold weather. Carolyn Marvin kicked things off with a set of questions for the panelists (Erin McKean, John McWhorter, Ben Yagoda and me), and then took questions from the audience. I enjoyed it, and I think that most of the other participants (on stage and off) did too.

There were some questions that didn't get an adequate answer on the spot, and I promised to take them up here on Language Log at greater length. I got an interesting follow-up email this afternoon from an audience member, about the use of "based on" as an adverbial adjunct, and I'll post something about it a bit later.

Meanwhile, John McWhorter was interviewed this morning by Marty Moss-Coane on Radio Times this morning, talking about the Biden "articulate" brouhaha:

Sen. Joe Biden created quite a stir last week when he called Barak Obama "articulate" and "clean." What do these comments have to say about politics, stereotypes and racism in America. We talk with linguist JOHN McWHORTER, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and SARAH WILLIE, associate provost and associate professor at Swarthmore.

You can listen to a streaming version here, or download the mp3.

Posted by Mark Liberman at February 9, 2007 04:41 PM