Spectacular Vernacular

Capital Language From Kyiv to Washington, D.C.

How the capital of Ukraine has become a linguistic hot take.

Advertisement

Episode Notes

On today’s episode of Spectacular Vernacular, Nicole and Ben talk about how the capital of Ukraine has become a linguistic hot take. They also interview Jessi Grieser, a professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville about her new book, The Black Side of the River: Race, Language, and Belonging in Washington D.C. And finally, we bring on a listener for some wordplay. We hope you’re good at figuring out analogies. You could win a year’s membership to Slate Plus.

Do you have any language questions or fun facts to share? Email us at spectacular@slate.com.

Produced by Jasmine Ellis and Asha Saluja

Here are some notes and references from this week’s show:

New York Times: “How Do You Say Kyiv? It Can Be Hard for English Speakers” 

NPR “Kyiv or Kiev? Why people disagree about how to pronounce the Ukrainian capital’s name” 

Jessi Grieser: The Black Side of the River: Race, Language, and Belonging in Washington, D.C.

“Bad Analogies” on Twitter

Advertisement

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.

All episodes

Hosts

  • 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.

Follow