Huffington Posts

May 26, 2011

I’ve written two pieces for the Huffington Post.  One is about how so many people who say they "love language" really love complaining about other people’s language, and another trying to disentangle the many ways something can be "right" or "wrong" in language. 

A radio Tuesday: All Things Considered and WYPR Baltimore

May 18, 2011

Yesterday NPR aired my "Three Books for the Grammar Lover in Your Life" piece during PM drive-time, thus subjecting the world to my version of "radio voice".  For those looking for something a little more spontaneous, Dan Rodricks and I had a great conversation on WYPR in Baltimore yesterday.  The callers were unusually good, including John the self-described "white rapper", who made some of the best points I’ve heard from a caller.

The Economist audio interview on You Are What You Speak

May 10, 2011

I did a very enjoyable audio interview with The Economist’s own sextilingual (Swahili-speaking!) books and arts editor, Fiammetta Rocco, on the book. 

The Economist, “A less gilded future”

May 9, 2011

The legal business has undergone not only recession but also structural change. Ever-growing profits are no longer guaranteed. Nor, for some firms, is survival

[N]ot all the trends that have hit the legal industry are cyclical. Some are here to stay even as the economy recovers. One is clients’ determination to keep their bills down. Feeling that they had overpaid vastly for the work of green trainees, they began refusing to have routine work billed to first- and second-year associates (ie, lawyers who are not yet partners). They see no reason to stand for it again. And alternative fee arrangements continue to grow in importance, albeit slowly: they accounted for 16% of big firms’ revenue in 2010.

A second trend is globalisation, which the law is experiencing later than other industries. For lawyers, it holds both promise and peril. Booming emerging markets, especially in Asia, are leading New York and London firms to extend their reach. But the growth of outsourcing to places like India is not lost on money-conscious clients, some of whom are demanding that their lawyers pass certain routine work to cheaper contractors.

A third trend is the growth of technology in an industry long synonymous with trained human judgment. Software that can perform tasks like “e-discovery”, sorting through e-mails and other digital records for evidence, is saving firms money. It has also made it harder to sustain a business model in which partners sit atop a pyramid with a fat base of associates who carry out expensively billed work, some of which is routine and repetitive. (Read the whole article.) 

“Slip of the Tongue”: the New York Post on You Are What You Speak

May 1, 2011

Brad Parks:  "When I began writing for newspapers, it vexed me that editors felt compelled to change phrases like ‘I am often annoyed by copy editors’ to ‘I often am annoyed by copy editors.’ Nor could I understand why simple questions like ‘where are you from?’ morphed into ‘from where are you?’

I didn’t truly understand just how silly all those editors were being until I read Robert Lane Greene’s new book, ‘You Are What You Speak,’ a fascinating look at the world’s languages and how we use them…"  (Read the whole article.)