Language News: NYT > On Language

A couple of years ago, Ben Zimmer took over William Safire’s On Language column on the New York Times.  Zimmer wasn’t as well known to the public as Safire, who had once served as Nixon’s speech writer, but Zimmer has impeccable training in linguistics.  He brought a fresh voice and a highly informed perspective to the column.

On Friday, Zimmer’s followers learned that the NYT was no longer going to carry the column.  It’s difficult to understand why the paper decided to discontinue such a well-liked column by such a highly-trained writer, but fortunately you can still find an archive of Zimmer’s columns here: 

NYT > On Language.

Since Friday, there have been rumors that the paper is reconsidering this decision.  You can also show your support for Zimmer and/or the column on facebook at:

On Language | The New York Times

Keep On Language in the New York Times

Ben Zimmer’s fan page

Let’s hope the NYT sobers up and realizes what it has done.  If not, we’ll just have to wait to see who scoops up Zimmer next.


About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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