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To the Best of Our Knowledge: Making Words Radio/TV Program

To the Best of Our Knowledge: Making Words

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Publisher's Summary

In this hour, Patricia O'Conner is a former editor at The New York Times Book Review and the author of Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English. She tells Jim Fleming that what Americans think of as a British accent is a fairly recent development.

Next, Roy Blount Jr. is a humorist, word maven and the author of Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory. He tells Anne Strainchamps about the title of this program.

Then, Dan Everett went to the Amazon as a young Christian missionary and became captivated by the Indian people he'd come to convert and their totally unknown language. He describes his time with them in a book called Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes, and talks with Steve Paulson about the Piraha culture.

After that, Arika Okrent is a linguist and the author of In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Logian Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language. She tries her Klingon out on Jim Fleming and explains why people make up languages.

And finally, Irene Pepperberg teaches animal cognition at Harvard and is an associate research professor at Brandeis. For thirty years, she worked with a remarkable grey parrot named Alex. She's chronicled their relationship in a book: Alex & Me: How A Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence – and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process. Pepperberg talks about her work with Alex with Steve Paulson, and we hear recordings of them at work. [Broadcast Date: August 6, 2010]

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