OnWords

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Website
http://kmuw.org
Description
An exploration and celebration of language and all of it's many quirks, KMUW commentator Lael Ewy.
Language
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2018-12-12 10:20
last episode published
2018-12-11 14:08
publication frequency
11.34 days
Contributors
OnWords author  
KMUW owner  
Explicit
false
Number of Episodes
80
Rss-Feeds
Detail page
Categories
Unsorted

Recommendations


Episodes

Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors
11.12.2018

OnWords: Blue Wave

After this year’s midterm elections, news-types spent countless hours trying to decide if the results could be described as a “blue wave” or not. “Blue wave” is supposed to mean the electorate turning toward Democratic candidates, by associating their ...
Lael Ewy author
27.11.2018

OnWords: Dog Whistle

The term “dog whistle” pops up in politics with much higher frequency these days. A literal dog whistle is a whistle that emits sounds at a pitch beyond human hearing but that can be heard by dogs and domestic cats. Dog-whistle politics refers to ideas...
Lael Ewy author
13.11.2018

OnWords: Witch Hunt

When an American uses the term “witch hunt,” a few inter-related referents come to mind.
Lael Ewy author
30.10.2018

OnWords: Pumpkin

You can’t avoid the word “pumpkin” this time of year, even if you’re the sort of person who avoids pumpkin flavors or pumpkins themselves. “Pumpkin” is a fun word. Roll it over your tongue a little. With its luscious “u,” delicious “m,” and mouth-filli...
Lael Ewy author
16.10.2018

OnWords: #Hashtags

Those who do search engine optimization for a living contend that the hashtag is not all that useful, since few people actually use them to search for the content they want.
Lael Ewy author
2.10.2018

OnWords: Plaques and Statues

Recent debate over removing Confederate statuary from public spaces illuminates the intersection of words and other forms of expression. The civil rights activists who have succeeded in getting Confederate statues removed from public places argue that ...
Lael Ewy author
4.09.2018

OnWords: Narrative

It has always bothered me that grant proposals always require “narratives.” Grant narratives are generally so highly structured that they could not possibly resemble narrative as we commonly use the term. Coming from a background in creative writing, I...
Lael Ewy author
21.08.2018

OnWords: Kowtowing to the Language of Power

When Wichita State University’s Education Department recently changed its name to the College of Applied Studies, it may have aligned them with university goals, but it was a blow to plain language. George Orwell warned us 70 years ago of such doublesp...
Lael Ewy author
7.08.2018

OnWords: Letters (and Numbers) for Words as a Stylistic Choice

I ran across a phrase online the other day that I hadn’t seen in a while: “What, U mad?” with the letter “U” substituted for the word spelled “y-o-u.” I don’t normally hang out where this phrase is used—it’s a way internet trolls tweak their targets—bu...
Lael Ewy author
24.07.2018

OnWords: Performance

Those of us who work for someone other than ourselves become so used to “performance reviews” that we seldom stop to consider what they mean. Though commonly used in human resources circles, the word “performance” implies that our workplaces are ethica...
Lael Ewy author
10.07.2018

OnWords: 'Our Most Vulnerable'

“Our most vulnerable” is a term we use to transfer an audience’s pity from others and onto whoever isusing the term. Consider its use: when we label groups such as the homeless, the elderly, and children as “our most vulnerable” we draw attention away ...
Lael Ewy author
26.06.2018

OnWords: The Metaphors of Agriculture

Late spring and early summer is wheat harvest season in Kansas, and it has me thinking about how deeply agricultural metaphors interweave into common speech. This is maybe a bit surprising, considering how few of us actually farm. Even in urban setting...
Lael Ewy author
26.06.2018

OnWords: The Metaphors of Agriculture

Late spring and early summer is wheat harvest season in Kansas, and it has me thinking about how deeply agricultural metaphors interweave into common speech. This is maybe a bit surprising, considering how few of us actually farm. Even in urban setting...
Lael Ewy author
12.06.2018

OnWords: Is Unacceptable

At some point we’ve all heard or said that something or other (quote) “is unacceptable.” “Is unacceptable” is one of those phrases that seep through the language and bubble up seemingly everywhere. But there are a few things very wrong with it. “Is una...
Lael Ewy author
12.06.2018

OnWords: Is Unacceptable

At some point we’ve all heard or said that something or other (quote) “is unacceptable.” “Is unacceptable” is one of those phrases that seep through the language and bubble up seemingly everywhere. But there are a few things very wrong with it. “Is una...
Lael Ewy author
29.05.2018

OnWords: Identity

More fundamental than the issue of so-called identity politics is the definition of identity itself. My work in the mental health field has me facilitating workshops on culture and its impact on work in human services. In these workshops, we inevitably...
Lael Ewy author
29.05.2018

OnWords: Identity

More fundamental than the issue of so-called identity politics is the definition of identity itself. My work in the mental health field has me facilitating workshops on culture and its impact on work in human services. In these workshops, we inevitably...
Lael Ewy author
15.05.2018

OnWords: Mission Accomplished

Recently, our president used the words “mission accomplished” to describe military action in Syria. The phrase immediately brought up a famous faux pas: George W. Bush slapping the same term across an aircraft carrier to proclaim the same in Iraq. That...
Lael Ewy author
15.05.2018

OnWords: Mission Accomplished

Recently, our president used the words “mission accomplished” to describe military action in Syria. The phrase immediately brought up a famous faux pas: George W. Bush slapping the same term across an aircraft carrier to proclaim the same in Iraq. That...
Lael Ewy author
3.04.2018

OnWords: On Language And Reality

Various theories of language, notably the Sapir-Whorf theory support the idea that language creates reality for language users. And while some visual artists and musicians might argue the point, there’s something to it. Successful political initiatives...
Lael Ewy author
3.04.2018

OnWords: On Language And Reality

Various theories of language, notably the Sapir-Whorf theory support the idea that language creates reality for language users. And while some visual artists and musicians might argue the point, there’s something to it. Successful political initiatives...
Lael Ewy author
6.03.2018

OnWords: No Words

Alert listener Ryan Philbrick noted the current trend of using the words “no words” when one is overcome with emotion. Indeed, there are plenty of words one can use in these situations, from “devastated” and “apoplectic,” to “saddened,” or, if you don’...
Lael Ewy author
6.03.2018

OnWords: No Words

Alert listener Ryan Philbrick noted the current trend of using the words “no words” when one is overcome with emotion. Indeed, there are plenty of words one can use in these situations, from “devastated” and “apoplectic,” to “saddened,” or, if you don’...
Lael Ewy author
20.02.2018

OnWords: On Defining Our Terms

I remember reading Plato as an undergrad and being interested in the way Socrates took pains to define his terms in the dialogs. Western philosophy has continued this tradition, and by the 20th century, the problem of meaning in philosophical language ...
Lael Ewy author
20.02.2018

OnWords: On Defining Our Terms

I remember reading Plato as an undergrad and being interested in the way Socrates took pains to define his terms in the dialogs. Western philosophy has continued this tradition, and by the 20th century, the problem of meaning in philosophical language ...
Lael Ewy author
6.02.2018

OnWords: Non Gender-Specific Pronouns

If there’s one thing I’ve come around to over the years, it’s the non-gender-specific pronoun.
Lael Ewy author
6.02.2018

OnWords: Non Gender-Specific Pronouns

If there’s one thing I’ve come around to over the years, it’s the non-gender-specific pronoun.
Lael Ewy author
23.01.2018

OnWords: Word Of The Year

Late in December each year, authorities on language such as those who curate the Oxford English Dictionary release their word of the year. I use the word “curate” purposefully to describe what those who assemble dictionaries do, as the best description...
Lael Ewy author
23.01.2018

OnWords: Word Of The Year

Late in December each year, authorities on language such as those who curate the Oxford English Dictionary release their word of the year. I use the word “curate” purposefully to describe what those who assemble dictionaries do, as the best description...
Lael Ewy author
9.01.2018

OnWords: Public Apology

Recent sex scandals have seen an uptick in public apologies. Some people are more satisfied at the sincerity of these attempts at amends than others are, but the public apology remains an important part of life in a country that constitutionally protec...
Lael Ewy author
9.01.2018

OnWords: Public Apology

Recent sex scandals have seen an uptick in public apologies. Some people are more satisfied at the sincerity of these attempts at amends than others are, but the public apology remains an important part of life in a country that constitutionally protec...
Lael Ewy author
26.12.2017

OnWords: Compassion

I hear the word “compassion” in surprising places these days, such as in health service delivery, education, and even those who study communication patterns.
Lael Ewy author
26.12.2017

OnWords: Compassion

I hear the word “compassion” in surprising places these days, such as in health service delivery, education, and even those who study communication patterns.
Lael Ewy author
12.12.2017

OnWords: Snowflake

A popular idea about the way water freezes notes that all snowflakes are unique, beautiful latticeworks of crystals revealing themselves when magnified and properly attended to. This notion has led some well-meaning folks to apply the word “snowflake” ...
Lael Ewy author
12.12.2017

OnWords: Snowflake

A popular idea about the way water freezes notes that all snowflakes are unique, beautiful latticeworks of crystals revealing themselves when magnified and properly attended to. This notion has led some well-meaning folks to apply the word “snowflake” ...
Lael Ewy author
28.11.2017

OnWords: National Conversation

Our friends in the media love to use the term “national conversation” about anything newsworthy and controversial. Lately we’ve had national conversations about sexual harassment, race, and the rights LGBT people. I think it’s very important to talk ab...
Lael Ewy author
28.11.2017

OnWords: National Conversation

Our friends in the media love to use the term “national conversation” about anything newsworthy and controversial. Lately we’ve had national conversations about sexual harassment, race, and the rights LGBT people. I think it’s very important to talk ab...
Lael Ewy author
14.11.2017

OnWords: Tone

When senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake recently announced they were not running for reelection, they both noted the tone, the manner in which the current president communicates. This is all fine and good, but it seems somewhat strange coming from men ...
Lael Ewy author
14.11.2017

OnWords: Tone

When senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake recently announced they were not running for reelection, they both noted the tone, the manner in which the current president communicates. This is all fine and good, but it seems somewhat strange coming from men ...
Lael Ewy author
31.10.2017

OnWords: Crisis

I think we’re using the word “crisis” wrong most of the time. I don’t usually make such pronouncements, and, frankly, as someone who recognizes that language changes based on how it is used, I’m uncomfortable doing even this. But right now we seem to h...
Lael Ewy author
31.10.2017

OnWords: Crisis

I think we’re using the word “crisis” wrong most of the time. I don’t usually make such pronouncements, and, frankly, as someone who recognizes that language changes based on how it is used, I’m uncomfortable doing even this. But right now we seem to h...
Lael Ewy author
18.10.2017

OnWords: Identity Politics

“Identity politics” is one of those terms that everyone seems to want to distance themselves from but that everyone seems to practice. In short, identity politics describes approaching political issues from the standpoint of the group with which you mo...
Lael Ewy author
18.10.2017

OnWords: Identity Politics

“Identity politics” is one of those terms that everyone seems to want to distance themselves from but that everyone seems to practice. In short, identity politics describes approaching political issues from the standpoint of the group with which you mo...
Lael Ewy author
3.10.2017

OnWords: Function

The word “function” is applied to people in a variety of ways. Job descriptions detail basic functions of the position, and mental health professionals declare people high- or low-functioning. If my goal is to be a “functioning” student, employees, hus...
Lael Ewy author
3.10.2017

OnWords: Function

The word “function” is applied to people in a variety of ways. Job descriptions detail basic functions of the position, and mental health professionals declare people high- or low-functioning. If my goal is to be a “functioning” student, employees, hus...
Lael Ewy author
19.09.2017

OnWords: Yeah, No

On a recent trip with some of my guy friends, we got to discussing the phrase “yeah, no,” a usage that one of our party found particularly annoying. My annoyed friend considered “yeah, no” a recent development, an inescapable but obnoxious bit of Mille...
Lael Ewy author
19.09.2017

OnWords: Yeah, No

On a recent trip with some of my guy friends, we got to discussing the phrase “yeah, no,” a usage that one of our party found particularly annoying. My annoyed friend considered “yeah, no” a recent development, an inescapable but obnoxious bit of Mille...
Lael Ewy author
5.09.2017

OnWords: Care

The word “care” has taken on many different meanings, meanings that seem to contradict themselves. At one level, we use the term to indicate helping and high regard: the caring person gives constant nurturing and support, hovering over a bedside and us...
Lael Ewy author
5.09.2017

OnWords: Care

The word “care” has taken on many different meanings, meanings that seem to contradict themselves. At one level, we use the term to indicate helping and high regard: the caring person gives constant nurturing and support, hovering over a bedside and us...
Lael Ewy author
22.08.2017

OnWords: Opposition Research vs. Treason

It’s interesting that we’d be at a point in our nation’s history where we’d be having to decide if a meeting between the family members of a presidential candidate and a foreign agent should be defined as opposition research or treason. “Opposition res...
Lael Ewy author