University of Texas at Austin

Posts Tagged ‘Department of Linguistics’


Monday, February 27, 2012

A Q&A with Michael Erard, Author of “Babel No More”

Babel-No-More-The-Search-for-the-Worlds-Most-Extraordinary-Language-LearnersHow do some people have the ability to master a multitude of languages? What makes them tick? Are their brains wired differently from ours?

These are just a few of the questions alumnus Michael Erard (M.A. Linguistics, ‘96; Ph.D. English, ‘00) tackles in “Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners” (Free Press, 2012).

While gathering research for his book, Erard traveled to far and distant lands – from Mexico to South India to California to Belgium – in…

Monday, November 3, 2008

Alumnus Investigates Verbal Blunders

What are the origins of the Freudian slip? How are hesitations and interruptions useful to cops and interrogators? Why do President Bush’s verbal gaffes, such as “misunderestimate,” fascinate people?

These are just a few of the questions alumnus Michael Erard (M.A. Linguistics, ‘96; Ph.D. English, ‘00) tackles in “Um…: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean” (Random House, 2007), now out in paperback.

According to Erard, everyday speech is filled with verbal blunders—approximately one in every 10 words.…