Subscribe: The Word Nerds
Preview: The Word Nerds

The Word Nerds

A podcast about words, language, and why we say the things we do

Last Build Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2012 16:21:52 +0000

Copyright: 2006-2008

The forum is dead, long live the forum

Tue, 21 Feb 2012 03:01:31 +0000

What’s this? After over two years, two posts in one day? The Word Nerds Forum has been removed from the site. It has not been active in well over two years, and it has become an administrator’s nightmare, since it … Continue reading

The Word Nerds site, restored

Tue, 21 Feb 2012 01:04:38 +0000

First of all, no, we are not getting ready to start producing more Word Nerds episodes. Sorry. However, I can see that many people keep coming back to the site, viewing the blog posts and listening to the podcast episodes. … Continue reading

Status update: goodbye for now (120)

Wed, 02 Sep 2009 22:53:01 +0000

This is Dave Shepherd with an update on the status of the Word Nerds podcast. Most of you have noticed that we Word Nerds have been absent from the airwaves (or the Internet-waves) since April of this year. We’re sorry … Continue reading

Media Files:

Workplace Communications (119)

Sun, 12 Apr 2009 02:41:42 +0000

Workplace communications: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd are off the job while recording this show, but they will be talking about workplace communications. The fourth anniversary of The Word Nerds was on March 21. (2:08) The tone of workplace communications; … Continue reading

Media Files:

Nostalgia (118)

Sun, 29 Mar 2009 00:44:55 +0000

Nostalgia: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd are on location in one of the important places of their young adulthood, where they talk about nostalgia. Thanks to Maureen B. for a PayPal donation. Dave makes a couple of corrections. Thanks to … Continue reading

Media Files:

Writing (117)

Sat, 14 Mar 2009 20:57:57 +0000

Writing: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd glance down at their written notes–albeit not handwritten–as they talk about writing. Thanks to Kay Horst S., Jeff O., Kate S., Margaret C., and an anonymous friend for donations through the PayPal button. Thanks … Continue reading

Media Files:

Translation (116)

Sat, 28 Feb 2009 20:35:21 +0000

Translation: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd bring a certain je ne sais quoi to their discussion of translation. Thanks to renaissance247 for the email suggestion of this show topic. (2:33) Practical problems in translation; “good” and “bad” translation; the importance … Continue reading

Media Files:

Facebook and Social Networking (115)

Sat, 14 Feb 2009 21:58:08 +0000

Facebook and Social Networking: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd announced their status to their Facebook friends as they recorded this discussion of Facebook and other social networks. Our experience with Facebook, and the Facebook experience in general (2:10) Music bumper … Continue reading

Media Files:

Words and Phrases That Tick Us Off! (114)

Sun, 25 Jan 2009 03:02:21 +0000

Words and Phrases That Tick Us Off! Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd are grouchy at the end of a tough work week. They explore words and phrases that tick them off. Thanks to Warren G., John P., Andreas B., Elin … Continue reading

Media Files:

Abbrevs. & txt (113)

Sun, 11 Jan 2009 03:01:53 +0000

Abbrevs. & txt: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd try not to LOL as they talk about text messaging and abbreviations. Howard Chang is back! The rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated. (2:24) Abbreviations throughout history: nearly as old as … Continue reading

Media Files:

Currency (112)

Sat, 27 Dec 2008 12:04:16 +0000

Currency: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd cash in on the latest news and trends as they talk about currency–in money and in speech. Investing something (language or money) with value; potency and context (2:10) Profanity and language in different cultural … Continue reading

Media Files:

Morphing, Changing, and Dying Words (111)

Sun, 14 Dec 2008 19:59:05 +0000

Morphing, Changing, and Dying Words: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd look at words that shift and change over time–or sometimes die out altogether. Thanks to Carlos in Spain, who recently helped us discovered a technical problem with our site and … Continue reading

Media Files:

Say Again? (110)

Sat, 29 Nov 2008 13:43:39 +0000

Say Again? Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd discuss remakes, do-overs, and other kinds of re-visitation. Thanks to Patrick M., Alan H., Leandro B., Stuart W., Dmitriy P., and Peter L. for PayPal donations. Thanks also to Tom D., Tomas A., … Continue reading

Media Files:

Irony and Satire (109)

Sun, 16 Nov 2008 19:50:37 +0000

Irony and Satire: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd try to avoid speaking sarcastically to each other as they explore irony and satire. This week’s topic was suggested by Abbie G., a smart 9th-grader. Ironically, this show ended up being rated … Continue reading

Media Files:

Stories and Storytelling (108)

Sat, 25 Oct 2008 01:41:50 +0000

Stories and Storytelling: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd are in Jonesborough, Tennessee, at the National Storytelling Festival, where they discuss stories and storytelling. Thanks to Martin P. for a PayPal donation (1:58) We are in Jonesborough, Tennessee, the oldest town … Continue reading

Media Files:

Debate (107)

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:41:10 +0000

Debate: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd argue back and forth and try to come to agreement about the meaning of debate. Thanks to Alex Enkerli for an audio comment on MyChingo. (2:03) This edition was inspired by an email from … Continue reading

Media Files:

Linguistic Tics (106)

Sun, 31 Aug 2008 01:29:22 +0000

Linguistic tics: Friends, this week Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd sort of, you know, explore little linguistic tics, right? Paralinguistic vs. linguistic tics (1:59) Causes of linguistic tics; tics as style identifiers; some classic linguist tics (5:32) Music bumper from … Continue reading

Media Files:

Ambiguity (105)

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 21:22:14 +0000

Ambiguity: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd try very hard to figure out exactly what each other means, as they explore the topic of ambiguity. Thanks to Paul L., Smaran D., Mary M., Michelle M., Dolores B., and Peter D. for … Continue reading

Media Files:

Syntax (104)

Sun, 27 Jul 2008 03:59:00 +0000

Syntax: This week it’s shake-up the order of sentences that Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd do, as explore the topic of syntax they shall. Thanks to Emma H. and Mary T. for PayPal donations (2:07) Syntax: not just word order, … Continue reading

Media Files:

Please complete our audience survey. (103A)

Fri, 25 Jul 2008 18:23:06 +0000

The Word Nerds would  be very grateful if everyone listening could complete the audience survey on our website, See the navigation column on the right side of the web page. This survey will give us valuable statistical evidence of … Continue reading

Media Files:

Prosody (103)

Mon, 07 Jul 2008 18:34:43 +0000

Prosody: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd try not to use “that tone” with each other as they discuss prosody in speech and in poetry. Thanks to Marilyn O. for a PayPal donation (1:54) Speech prosody: the rhythm, intonation, and grouping … Continue reading

Media Files:

Rhetoric, part 3: Rhetoric in Famous Speeches (102)

Mon, 26 May 2008 01:30:04 +0000

Rhetoric in Famous Speeches: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd conclude their three-part series in rhetoric by presenting some examples of rhetoric and public discourse. At the time this is posted, our web site is not fully functional. It will be … Continue reading

Media Files:

Games and Wordplay (101)

Sun, 20 Apr 2008 22:11:18 +0000

Games and Wordplay: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd explore word games, games with words, and ways of playing with words. Dave thanks Brad and Naoko for donations, and Naoko, Ralsen, Asa, Jason and Hossein for their emails. (1:59) This show … Continue reading

Media Files:

Baby Talk (100)

Sat, 22 Mar 2008 17:43:25 +0000

Baby Talk: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd use their best adult vocabulary as they discuss baby talk. Dave thanks Andy, Beverley and Jianxia for their support through the PayPal donation button. (2:00) This is show #100. The recording date, March … Continue reading

Media Files:

Rhetoric, part 2–Tropes and Schemes (99)

Sat, 01 Mar 2008 21:18:10 +0000

Rhetoric, part 2–Tropes and Schemes: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd continue their discussion of rhetoric by exploring tropes, schemes, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Grimace from the Word Nerds Forum corrects us on our example of a syllogism. (2:31) Content versus … Continue reading

Media Files:

Body Words (98)

Sat, 09 Feb 2008 20:22:09 +0000

Body Words: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd put their noses to the grindstone and go toe-to-toe in a tete-a-tete, as they talk about body words. Dave thanks Scott and Mary for their support through the PayPal donation button. (2:05) This … Continue reading

Media Files:

Rhetoric, part 1 (97)

Sat, 19 Jan 2008 13:51:17 +0000

Rhetoric, part 1: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd explore the difference between rhetoric and dialectic. They invoke Plato, Aristotle, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore. Dave thanks Michael, Tim, Emma, and Clint for their support through their PayPal donations to the … Continue reading

Media Files:

Special 2008 New Year’s Edition (96A)

Wed, 02 Jan 2008 01:52:12 +0000

2008 New Year’s special edition: Dave Shepherd sends New Year’s greetings from the Word Nerds team, and responds to listener feedback. Dave reads and responds to emails from Hillary, Idiosyncratic Idiot, Chris, Rob, and Donna. (3:10) A bald-faced solicitation of … Continue reading

Media Files:

Silence and Speechlessness (96)

Sun, 09 Dec 2007 20:23:04 +0000

Silence and Speechlessness: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd sit in silence for a few seconds–and then find that they have something to say after all. They explore speechlessness and silence. We are currently somewhat speechless because of overwork. (2:02) Speechlessness: … Continue reading

Media Files:

Religious Words (95)

Sat, 17 Nov 2007 03:14:23 +0000

Religious Words: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd look deep within their souls–without proselytizing–as they talk about the connection between religious language and everyday language. Religious words as they are re-appropriated into everyday life. Thanks to EJ for suggesting this topic, … Continue reading

Media Files:

Nicknames (94)

Sat, 27 Oct 2007 08:24:01 +0000

Nicknames: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd call each other by names other than their given names as they discuss nicknames. Listener feedback (2:22) Eke-names, mascots, and a shout-out to a former student (5:18) Music bumper from “Grapes” by Evan Stone. … Continue reading

Media Files:

Public Speaking (93)

Sat, 06 Oct 2007 18:43:25 +0000

Public speaking: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd sit very isolated in the Word Nerds studio, and yet speak to thousands of listeners about public speaking. Oratory, rhetoric, and forensics (2:02) Music bumper from “Forensic” by Nick Murray (14:29) “Everyday” public … Continue reading

Media Files:

Transitions (92)

Sat, 15 Sep 2007 18:49:11 +0000

Transitions: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd try to move smoothly from one sub-topic to another as they talk about transitions, both in language and in life. Emails and voice messages from Angy, Joel, MrGraphxFargo, Ken, and Ric (2:33) Change in … Continue reading

Media Files:

“Inside” Language (91)

Sun, 26 Aug 2007 01:23:46 +0000

“Inside” Language: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd speak as clearly and openly as they can about “insider” language–normal words that outsiders cannot understand. Our show is introduced this week by the man called Anne from Israel, known to Word Nerds … Continue reading

Media Files:

Small Talk (90)

Sat, 04 Aug 2007 04:20:00 +0000

Small talk: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd, who haven’t seen each other for several months, make and discuss small talk. We encourage you to check our our friend Charles Hodgson’s book Carnal Knowledge. (2:22) The inspiration for this show was … Continue reading

Media Files:

Synonyms (89)

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 03:54:44 +0000

Synonyms: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd discuss, chat, and talk about a plethora, a bundle, a whole bunch of ideas about synonyms. Austin Tichenor of the Reduced Shakespeare Company left us an audio comment via our MyChingo button. (1:55) It … Continue reading

Media Files:

Abridgment (88)

Sun, 24 Jun 2007 18:11:51 +0000

Abridgment: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd leave out all the unimportant parts as they talk about abridgment. We feature the masters of abridgment, the Reduced Shakespeare Company. We’ve been away. While we were gone, the Nerd Number died. But now … Continue reading

Media Files:

Okay, it’s fixed.

Wed, 06 Jun 2007 20:17:52 +0000

After some frantic posting and emailing to several knowledgable people, including fellow podcasters on the Yahoo Podcasters group, I think I have fixed our site. You should now be able to directly download our shows. I have not tested it … Continue reading

Podcast problems

Tue, 05 Jun 2007 12:39:20 +0000

A listener posted a comment alerting me to the fact that our media files seemed to be unavailable for download. I don’t know what has happened to our blog or feed to cause this, but I have a couple of … Continue reading

Where did we go?

Tue, 29 May 2007 09:23:28 +0000

More than one person has asked us this question lately, via email or the forum. We have not died and gone away. The Word Nerds does continue to live. We just have not been able to record a new show … Continue reading

Spring Break (87A)

Mon, 23 Apr 2007 02:25:22 +0000

Spring Break Edition: Dave Shepherd does not have a linguistic topic, nor a Rude Word, nor a song–but he does respond to your emails and voicemails, and announces a new feature to the website. The Virginia Tech shooting touched us–but … Continue reading

Media Files:

Expletives (87)

Sat, 31 Mar 2007 13:35:12 +0000

Expletives, both rude and non-rude: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd have a rollicking good time, filling out the time of the show by talking about expletives. (NOTE: This show contains some of the rudest language we have every explicated on … Continue reading

Media Files:

Food Metaphors (86)

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 09:42:44 +0000

Food and cooking metaphors: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd explore the joys of cooking and eating by talking about food metaphors. Dave points listeners to the Deutsch 4 Podcast. Dave recently met with Bob Wright of the Baseball History Podcast … Continue reading

Media Files:

Myth and Legend (85)

Sun, 18 Feb 2007 03:34:22 +0000

Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd tell some tall tales about myth, legend, and language. Dave encourages listeners to digg our podcast (see the sidebar on the right side of our main blog page) and to visit the Word Nerds Forum … Continue reading

Media Files:

Our look is back

Tue, 13 Feb 2007 03:16:35 +0000

As you can tell by looking, our old familiar visual style is back. As this is written, the podcast feed seems to be working and the blog seems both to function and to look good. The sidebar links are in … Continue reading

Pardon our plainness

Thu, 08 Feb 2007 21:39:24 +0000

If you have come back to the Word Nerds’ website after having seen it before, it looks different (at least today, Thursday, February 8, 2007). This is due to the fact that we have moved the site to a new … Continue reading

Modal Verbs (84)

Sat, 27 Jan 2007 15:33:39 +0000

Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd should, can, and must discuss modal verbs. Howard gives a shoutout to Henrik Hansen and to the Danish language-related podcast Sproghjørnet. (2:17) Howard and Dave give an overview of auxiliary verbs, of which modal verbs … Continue reading

Media Files:

Resolutions (83)

Sat, 13 Jan 2007 03:25:12 +0000

Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd welcome the new year by talking about resolutions and promises. Dave announces the repair of our feed problem and reads listener email regarding Eilzüge. (2:20) Dave and Barbara talk about the nature and timing of … Continue reading

Media Files:

Speed (82)

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 18:29:11 +0000

Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd are in a massive hurry to talk about speed. Dave responds to feedback (2:08) Jesse Thorn of The Sound of Young America sent us a copy of Sky Maul: Happy Crap You Can Buy From … Continue reading

Media Files:

Feed issues and iTunes

Fri, 15 Dec 2006 10:43:03 +0000

The vast majority of you are using iTunes as your podcast receiving software. I use it myself. Unfortunately, there is a deep disconnect between iTunes and our web server. iTunes cannot see our feed, and so gives an error message … Continue reading

Prepositions (81)

Sat, 02 Dec 2006 15:31:05 +0000

Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd look over, under, around, and through prepositions. Dave responds to a post by SimonW11 from the Word Nerds Forum about an eggcorn; talks about why our blog has looked different; and explains Howard’s current absence … Continue reading

About our navigation column

Wed, 22 Nov 2006 18:00:05 +0000

For some reason, the customized look I created in the navigation column of our blog (that area over there to the right) keeps getting deleted somehow. I haven’t yet figured it out; I will need to take several hours (when … Continue reading

Thanks and Gratitude (80)

Mon, 20 Nov 2006 00:38:55 +0000

Dave Shepherd explores the linguistic workings of thanks and gratitude. Listeners respond with voicemails and emails. We thank you for your participation. (2:02) Thanks and thanksgiving (7:30) Song: “Thank you,” by All Mighty Whispers (15:24) Rude word of the week: … Continue reading

Media Files:

Sports Language (79)

Sun, 29 Oct 2006 22:15:47 +0000

Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd get their game faces on as they talk about the language of sports. The vocabulary of sport: rule-based terms and slang terms (1:58) Music bumper from “Natural Man,” by Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials … Continue reading

Media Files:

Derivatives (78)

Sun, 15 Oct 2006 16:54:18 +0000

Dave Shepherd and Howard Chang talk about derivatives–words that come from other words and how we came to love them. The derivation of “derivative” (2:42) How we became infatuated with derivatives (5:17) Music bumper from “Court of Greedy Kings,” by … Continue reading

Media Files:

Sorry about the missed weekend…

Mon, 09 Oct 2006 23:33:25 +0000

If you are just subscribed to The Word Nerds in a podcatching client, you won’t even see this message. If you log into the Word Nerds Forum, you’ll see it there, in the forum about the podcast. But if you … Continue reading

Periodicity (77)

Sun, 24 Sep 2006 02:43:30 +0000

Dave Shepherd announces a change in frequency of the publication of The Word Nerds. (1:56) News from the podcasting world (4:20) Annik Rubens suspends Schlaflos in München Apple issues cease and desist letters against companies using “podcast” in their name. … Continue reading

Media Files:

Equivocation and Discourse (76)

Mon, 18 Sep 2006 03:45:10 +0000

Howard Shepherd talks about his favorite summer reading book–Special Topics in Calamity Physics, a first novel by his former student Marisha Pessl. (2:47) Reasons for equivocating (4:37) Music bumper from “Ockham’s Shaving Kit,” by George Hrab (14:46) Verbal and lingual … Continue reading

Media Files:

Our Summer Reading (75)

Sun, 10 Sep 2006 01:48:41 +0000

Dave Shepherd, Barbara Shepherd, and Howard Chang talk about their summer reading. (2:14) Dave’s recent favorites: The Word Nerds Discussion forum Online fora related to magic The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini Baseball as America, by the National Baseball Hall … Continue reading

Media Files:

Summer Vacation Edition (74)

Sat, 05 Aug 2006 14:15:11 +0000

Dave Shepherd announces a summer vacation for and from The Word Nerds. The show will return with new editions on September 9. (This is take 2 of this program. Take 1 was done using Übercaster, but Dave hasn’t yet learned … Continue reading

Media Files:

Endings (73)

Sat, 29 Jul 2006 15:16:45 +0000

Dave Shepherd, Howard Shepherd, and Howard Chang talk about endings–of conversations, relationships, jobs, etc. (NOT of podcasts; we are not leaving!) Linguistic cues for endings (1:56) Music bumper from “My Living Will,” by The Finale (10:05) Non-verbal and non-oral cues: … Continue reading

Media Files:

Fustian Circumlocution (72)

Sun, 23 Jul 2006 13:11:06 +0000

Dave Shepherd, Howard Shepherd, and Howard Chang ponder a plethora of orotund expressions. That means they are talking about extravagant ways of expressing yourself. (Thanks to Michael Buchko for the topic suggestion.) What we mean by fustian language: pompous, bombastic … Continue reading

Media Files:

Jokes (71)

Sat, 15 Jul 2006 15:20:34 +0000

Dave Shepherd, Howard Shepherd, and Howard Chang talk about jokes and humor. (What a bunch of chuckleheads!) The philosophical underpinnings of humor (2:01) Music bumper from by “The Corner of Sacco and Vanzetti” by Shibboleth (11:20) Categories of humor (11:57) … Continue reading

Media Files:

Conversational Rules and Etiquette (70)

Sat, 08 Jul 2006 13:52:40 +0000

Dave Shepherd, Howard Shepherd, and Howard Chang discuss the rules, etiquette, and media of everyday conversations. Various ways the Word Nerds audience can converse with us, and with each other (1:59) Face-to-face conversation (4:59) Music bumper from by “Conversations” by … Continue reading

Media Files:

Failure and Success (69)

Sat, 01 Jul 2006 14:29:23 +0000

Dave Shepherd and Howard Chang talk about failure and success, having recently seen many students succeed (and some fail) at the end of the school year. Metaphors for success and failure in sports (3:46) Success and failure in school (11:06) … Continue reading

Media Files:

Slurring and Elision (68)

Sat, 24 Jun 2006 13:47:19 +0000

Dave Shepherd and Howard Shepherd try not to run their words together as they discuss slurring and elision in spoken language. Responses to listener emails. Howard was recently a guest on EatFeed. (1:51) Dysarthria: pathological elision (9:47) Elision as an … Continue reading

Media Files:

The forum is running.

Thu, 22 Jun 2006 10:08:15 +0000

If you look up at the header of this site, you will see a new link to “Forum.” The long-promised phpBB forum has been installed and configured, and awaits your input. Please feel free to register and post to your … Continue reading

Wine Words (67)

Sun, 18 Jun 2006 13:27:12 +0000

Dave and Barbara Shepherd explore the language of wine. Recently, along with Julie and Mark of Washington TravelCast, they toured some Virginia wineries. (Website photos by Dave) How to talk about the qualities of wine (3:50) Interviews: John Fitter of … Continue reading

Media Files:

Greetings and Partings (66)

Sat, 10 Jun 2006 16:23:16 +0000

Dave Shepherd and Howard Chang discuss greetings and partings at the end of the school year, when they must say good-bye to a lot of people. The functions of greetings and partings (1:50) Music bumper from by “Goodbye, Good Luck, … Continue reading

Media Files:

Hyperbole (65)

Sun, 04 Jun 2006 13:01:41 +0000

Dave Shepherd and Howard Shepherd discuss hyperbole and exaggeration. (It’s the best podcast ever!) Dave talks a bit about our changeover to our new blog site (1:51) Howard and Dave explore the etymologies of “hyperbole” and “exaggeration” and discuss why … Continue reading

Media Files:

Memory and Language (64)

Sat, 27 May 2006 12:45:55 +0000

Dave Shepherd and Howard Chang try to recall why they settled on the topic of Memory and Language. (2:11) Storytelling (4:19) Music bumper from “Remember” by Bob Kirkpatrick (10:40) Attribution of words (11:25) Song: “Future Memory,” by Heth and Jed … Continue reading

Media Files:

Sorry for the ugliness…

Thu, 25 May 2006 17:20:45 +0000

Well, folks, as you can see, the blog has moved. Yes, the navigation sidebar is incredibly ugly. My main concern this week has been to make sure the podcast feed and blog page were all functioning. They seem to be. … Continue reading

We’re changing our blog! (63.5)

Wed, 24 May 2006 01:14:14 +0000

Dave Shepherd announces changes to The Word Nerds’ blog and feed, which will take place this weekend. The web address for The Word Nerds will remain, and the feed address will stay [EDIT: The very best way to … Continue reading

Media Files:

Idioms and Culture (63)

Sat, 20 May 2006 16:58:09 +0000

Dave Shepherd welcomes back the North Carolina Nerd, Howard Shepherd, who is home from his travels to Denmark. Dave and Howard respond to several voicemails and emails about ePrime and puns. (1:55) Howard shares his memories of his trip with … Continue reading

Media Files:

Non-verbal Communication (62)

Sat, 13 May 2006 16:56:22 +0000

Dave Shepherd and Howard Chang talk about environments in which we communicate without using any words: elevators, restrooms, automobiles, interviews (1:59) Music bumper from “Jona Lee” by Roomful of Blues (12:32) Non-verbal communication in romance, sports, and the classroom (12:51) … Continue reading

Media Files:

Another blog update

Wed, 10 May 2006 15:13:07 +0000

We just learned from Apple Computer that The Word Nerds will be featured as a “splash” on the front page of the iTunes Music Store for about a week. We are very happy to have this extra promotional push by … Continue reading

Some changes coming

Tue, 09 May 2006 15:09:43 +0000

The Word Nerds will be making some changes to our blog setup sometime in the next week. (This means sometime between May 9 and May 16.) While we will continue to have our podcast audio files hosted by our favorite … Continue reading

Acting and Performance (61)

Sat, 06 May 2006 16:52:57 +0000

Dave Shepherd welcomes his wife Barbara once again as a guest Word Nerd. Dave and Barbara, who met in drama school years ago, discuss their shared background as actors. (1:54) The specialized vocabulary of the theatre (5:51) Music bumper from … Continue reading

Media Files:

Language, Race and Homophonic Creep

Mon, 01 May 2006 15:01:06 +0000

Hearing Howard Chang talk about “homophone creep” (a term that I like very much) made me think of the problem that I encounter every year when reading Hamlet. At one point in the play, either Rosencranz or Guildenstern uses the … Continue reading

Race and Language (60)

Sat, 29 Apr 2006 16:49:10 +0000

Dave Shepherd and Howard Chang welcome a voicemail on the Nerd Number from Hillary Israeli, on modern Hebrew as an invented language. (2:06) Dave and Howard discuss racial labels and epithets, and the boundaries of acceptability. (4:35) Music bumper from … Continue reading

Media Files:

Puns (59)

Sat, 22 Apr 2006 16:46:43 +0000

Dave Shepherd and Howard Shepherd respond to a voicemail from Chad at Me and the Bean about the secret girl language. (1:58)Dave and Howard explore several different sorts of puns. (4:18) Music bumper from “Nada” by Jaime Beauchamp (11:26) Some … Continue reading

Media Files:

Music and Language (58)

Sat, 15 Apr 2006 16:39:51 +0000

Barbara Shepherd returns for the second week as a guest Nerd. She and Dave Shepherd respond to an email from Fred Chalfant about Barbara’s grandmother’s name. (2:52) Dave and Barbara, who are both musicians, talk about the importance of music … Continue reading

Media Files:

Age and Language (57)

Sat, 08 Apr 2006 16:50:04 +0000

Since Howard Shepherd and Howard Chang are both travelling the world, Dave Shepherd welcomes a special guest Nerd, Barbara Shepherd (the Love of His Life). (1:57) Dave and Barbara talk about their favorite new podcast, Washington Travel Cast, produced by … Continue reading

Media Files:

Language of Deception (56)

Sat, 01 Apr 2006 16:35:00 +0000

Dave Shepherd welcomes Adam Curry, Ashlee Simpson, and Howard Stern to the Word Nerds’ studio. APRIL FOOLS! Just kidding! It’s really Dave and Howard Chang. Dave and Howard respond to voicemail from Patrick regarding the Rude Word of the Week. … Continue reading

Media Files: