The funny things we say

From DoubleX, Christine Kenneally, author of The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, talks to Katherine Russell Rich, author of Dreaming in Hindi: Coming Awake in Another Language (and part 2 and part 3 and part 4). Can computers decipher a 5,000-year-old language? Helping to uncover the secrets of the inscribed symbols of the Indus. Notions of grammatical correctness change; if they did not, the outraged e-mails would say: "Thou art wrong". Webster’s Third is the most controversial dictionary in the English language. A review of The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English. The Dictionary of American Regional English tracks the funny things we say. Two new editions of standard dictionaries try to help in the endless process of keeping German and Germans up to date. A look at the continuing appeal of Esperanto, designed to foster harmony and coexistence even in a troubled part of the world. An interview with Arika Okrent, author of In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language. For every invented language you might have heard of, there are hundreds of others that have never been spoken by anyone — and never will.