Anne Curzan

What makes a word "real"?

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One could argue that slang words like ‘hangry,’ ‘defriend’ and ‘adorkable’ fill crucial meaning gaps in the English language, even if they don't appear in the dictionary. After all, who actually decides which words make it into those pages? Language historian Anne Curzan gives a charming look at the humans behind dictionaries, and the choices they make.

About the speaker
Anne Curzan · Language historian

English professor Anne Curzan actually encourages her students to use slang in class. A language historian, she is fascinated by how people use words—and by how this changes.

English professor Anne Curzan actually encourages her students to use slang in class. A language historian, she is fascinated by how people use words—and by how this changes.