Geoffrey Nunberg (b. 1945)

Professor at the University of California at Berkeley and chair of the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary. Nunberg devoted his career to examining the words we use and what they reveal. “There has never been an age as wary as ours,” he writes, “of the tricks words can play, obscuring distinctions and smoothing over the corrugations of the actual world.” Nunberg has examined those tricks not only in scholarly works but also in countless articles for the general reader. He writes a regular feature on words for the New York Times, and his voice is familiar to listeners of the National Public Radio program Fresh Air. Many of Nunberg’s commentaries on language, culture, and politics have been collected in The Way We Talk Now (2001), Going Nucular (2004), and Talking Right (2007).