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Geoffrey Nunberg

Geoffrey Nunberg

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Geoffrey Nunberg is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 and a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information
UC Berkeley School of Information
The UC Berkeley School of Information or the iSchool is a graduate school offering both a professional master's degree and a research-oriented Ph.D. degree at the University of California, Berkeley. The school was created in 1994 and was known as the School of Information Management and Systems ...

. Nunberg has taught at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 and served as a principal scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center from the mid-1980's to 2000. As a linguist, he is best known for his work on lexical semantics
Lexical semantics
Lexical semantics is a subfield of linguistic semantics. It is the study of how and what the words of a language denote . Words may either be taken to denote things in the world, or concepts, depending on the particular approach to lexical semantics.The units of meaning in lexical semantics are...

, in particular on the phenomena of polysemy
Polysemy is the capacity for a sign or signs to have multiple meanings , i.e., a large semantic field.Charles Fillmore and Beryl Atkins’ definition stipulates three elements: the various senses of a polysemous word have a central origin, the links between these senses form a network, and ...

, deferred reference
Deferred reference
In natural language, a deferred reference is the metonymic use of an expression to refer to an entity related to the conventional meaning of that expression, but not denoted by it...

 and indexicality
In linguistics and in philosophy of language, an indexical behavior or utterance points to some state of affairs. For example, I refers to whoever is speaking; now refers to the time at which that word is uttered; and here refers to the place of utterance...

. He has also written extensively about the cultural and social implications of new technologies. Nunberg is a frequent contributor to the collective blog Language log
Language Log
Language Log is a collaborative language blog maintained by University of Pennsylvania phonetician Mark Liberman.The site is updated daily at the whims of the contributors, and most of the posts are on language use in the media and popular culture. Google search results are frequently used as a...


Nunberg has been commenting on language, usage, and society for National Public Radio's Fresh Air
Fresh Air
Fresh Air is an American radio talk show broadcast on National Public Radio stations across the United States. The show is produced by WHYY-FM in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its longtime host is Terry Gross. , the show was syndicated to 450 stations and claimed 4.5 million listeners. The show...

program since 1988. His commentaries on language also appear frequently in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

and other publications. He is the emeritus chair of the American Heritage Dictionary usage panel. His books for general audiences include The Way We Talk Now: Commentaries on Language and Culture from NPR's Fresh Air, Nucular}}: Language, Politics, and Culture in Controversial Times, Talking Right
Talking Right
Talking Right, subtitled How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show, is a 2006 book by linguist Geoffrey Nunberg, who uses his expertise to explain the United...

, and most recently The Years of Talking Dangerously (2009).

External links