linguistics | Michigan Radio
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linguistics

a pair of hands holding a newspaper that says "business" at the top.
Adeolu Eletu / Unsplash

We often hear politicians use buzzwords: things like “media elite,” “fake news,” and “welfare state.”

Some of those seem straightforward enough. Others, not so much.

One Michigan Radio listener, Ellen Rusten, had a question about a phrase you’ve probably heard come out of a politician's mouth: "business-friendly." Rusten wanted to know, just what does that popular buzzword actually mean?

doctor holding a stethoscope
Alex Proimos / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

In the past few weeks, there have been two high-profile people who lost their lives to cancer. Aretha Franklin died from pancreatic cancer. John McCain died from a brain cancer called glioblastoma.

Courtesy of Wil Rankinen

There is no better reminder of what a diverse state we live in than contemplating the differences between the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula.

Wil Rankinen​ is an associate professor of communication sciences and disorders at Grand Valley State. He's also a born and raised "Yooper." Rankinen is spending his summer exploring the way Yoopers talk by criss-crossing the UP to record long-time residents.

flickr user volkspider / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Does a typo or grammatical error really bug you?

Are you unable to resist making judgments about the person who committed that linguistic faux pas?

Well, some interesting new research from the University of Michigan might just teach you a thing or two about yourself. 

Robin Queen is professor and chair of the Linguistics Department at U of M. Queen joined Cynthia Canty on Stateside to offer some insight into the personality of the critic. 

Our hearts are in the right place when we use the word "innovation," but we may have ruined it for ourselves
flickr user Missy Schmidt / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

It’s not too hard for many of us to think of words that are just used so much that instead of summoning up a powerful image, they trigger a bored eye roll.

One such word is actually a very big part of The Next Idea: “innovation.”

When used correctly, “innovation” means so much. For companies and universities, entrepreneurs and inventors, it means everything.

But the word is now so overused it tends to get lost in the white noise of corporate buzzwords.