The Marc Steiner Show

06/13/07 Seth Lerer “Inventing English”


This afternoon we welcome Stanford University professor Seth Lerer.

He is the author of Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language.

 If you are a fan of William Satfire and love to learn the etymology of words, this show is for you.  My boyfriend is a big fan of words and wordplay.  I had to beg him last night to cease anagramming words outloud-it’s driving me crazy.  He’s the kind of word nut that will excitedly tell anyone who will listen how awful and awesome once meant the same thing, and will get very heated when discussing how he believes people misuse the word myriad.

 If you have the same tendancies (or if you are just driven mad by people who do), join us today.  We’ll be talking about how the English language has developed, and some of the people who had the biggest influence, like William Shakespeare.  Did you have any idea how many words he invented?  Apparently, I have him to thank for my name.


Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


  1. I was only able to hear half the show today, but I have a few comments. First, I agree that one of the things that makes, particularly, American English an exciting language is its maleability. Accepting new words from others or even making up new words is fine.

    I disagree, however, that butchering the syntax is ok. Even radio and TV announcers misuse objective/subjective/possessive pronouns. There are constant misuses of adjectives, adverbs and predicate nomnitives. I tire of the universal “their”.

    Let’s face it, the point of language is to communicate. And, if we keep going the way we’re going, then it won’t be long before people from the West Coast will need an interpreter to speak to someone from the East Coast.

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