In The Way We Talk Now, linguist Geoffrey Nunberg collects the commentaries that he presented on NPR's radio show Fresh Air. They mostly deal with various quirks of present-day American English. The essays are fairly interesting. Since they were designed to be appreciated while driving through traffic, they are light and a fast read.

For example, one article talks about how the term literacy has broadened to include concepts of cultural knowledge, and others discuss the history of the term chad and various euphemisms for corporate layoffs. Several articles explore the terminology and communication patterns of the Internet.

I'd recommend the book, since it's entertaining. Since each essay is 2 or 3 pages, it would be a good choice during an airplane ride or a situation when you expect interruptions. However, other books, such as Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, provide a more substantive introduction to linguistics.

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