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The debate over "LatinX" and how words get adopted — or not

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The History Behind Three Words

New terms — like LatinX — are often pushed by activists to promote a more equitable world. But linguist John McWhorter says trying to enforce new words to speed up social change tends to backfire.

About John McWhorter

John McWhorter is an associate professor in the Slavic Department at Columbia University. He is the host of the podcast Lexicon Valley and New York Times columnist.

McWhorter has written more than twenty books including The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Words on the Move: Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally) and Nine Nasty Words. He earned his B.A. from Rutgers, his M.A. from New York University, and his Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford.

This segment of the TED Radio Hour was produced by James Delahoussaye and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHour and email us at TEDRadioHour@npr.org.

Web Resources

Related TED Bio: John McWhorter

Related TED Talk: 4 reasons to learn a new language

Related TED Talk: Txtng is killing language. JK!!!

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Manoush Zomorodi
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James Delahoussaye
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Sanaz Meshkinpour
[Copyright 2024 NPR]