Spectacular Vernacular

TikTok Language Rabbit Hole

TikTok and Reddit are great places to observe the evolution of language.


Episode Notes

On today’s episode of Spectacular Vernacular, Nicole Holliday shows Ben Zimmer a TikTok video that does some fascinating things with language. They also interview Norma Mendoza-Denton, professor of anthropology at UCLA, about her recently published article “‘Sticking It to the Man’: r/wallstreetbets, Generational Masculinity and Revenge in Narratives of our Dystopian Capitalist Age.” And finally, a listener joins us for some wordplay that will put your geography skills to the test. We hope you’re ready! You could win a year’s membership to Slate Plus.


About the Show

Linguist Nicole Holliday and Wall Street Journal language columnist Ben Zimmer discuss the ways language is changing, talk to scholars and writers, and set and solve word puzzles.

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  • Ben Zimmer is a linguist, lexicographer, and all-around word nut. He is the language columnist for the Wall Street Journal and a contributing writer for the Atlantic.

  • Nicole Holliday is an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on variation, intonation, and language in society.