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Publisher's Summary

In this hour, as the world gets smaller, cultural collisions are all around us, including the language that surrounds us. We're constantly searching for new and better ways to communicate. Blogger Ben Schott's job for the New York Times is to troll the internet for new and noteworthy words. He tells Steve Paulson these words tell us volumes about the times we live in.

Next, when most of us are having trouble find the right words to make sense of the world, we turn to writers. They usually let their books do the talking, but occasionally we get to hear it straight from the authors themselves. Richard Fairmont recently produced a set of CDs for the BBC that include rare recordings of the prominent writers. They're called The Spoken Word: British Writers and The Spoken Word: American Writers. Fairmont tells Steve Paulson all about it.

Then, the search for a common tongue has moved us in many directions. To the surprise of many, English has filled in the gaps, or at least a version of English. Robert McCrum is the author of Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language. He tells Jim Fleming how English became Globish.

And finally, in such a complex world, sometimes simple is best, and what could be simpler than a bumper sticker? Menlo School philosophy teacher Jack Bowen isn't fooled, however. In in book If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of Bumper Stickers, he points out that restricting yourself to eight or nine words can be far more complex than you would expect. He tells Anne Strainchamps how he got interested in bumper stickers. [Broadcast Date: June 2, 2010]

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