September 11th has forced all Americans to reassess the words that are used in everyday life. Sports announcers now refrain from referring to games as "wars" and from using words like "killed." Dot-coms no longer "crash and burn." In times of crisis, the language we use seems to carry more weight. This hour, linguistics expert Geoffrey Nunberg explains how the American vernacular has changed since 9/11. What do we avoid saying for fear of sounding crass? When words seem inadequate, what do we say to express our sadness and grief?
Geoffrey Nunberg, linguistics professor at Stanford University and author of "The Way We Talk Now"
This program aired on December 26, 2001.