Anne Curzan | Contributor, That’s What They Say

Anne Curzan is the Geneva Smitherman Collegiate Professor of English and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan. She also holds faculty appointments in the Department of Linguistics and the School of Education.

As an expert in the history of the English language, Anne describes herself as a fount of random linguistic information about how English works and how it got to be that way. She received the University’s Henry Russel Award for outstanding research and teaching in 2007, as well as the Faculty Recognition Award in 2009 and the 2012 John Dewey Award for undergraduate teaching.

Anne has published multiple books and dozens of articles on the history of the English language (from medieval to modern), language and gender, and pedagogy. Her newest book is Fixing English: Prescriptivism and Language History (2014). She has also created three audio/video courses for The Great Courses, including “The Secret Life of Words” and “English Grammar Boot Camp.”

When she is not tracking down new slang or other changes in the language, Anne can be found running around Ann Arbor, swimming in pools both indoor and out, and now doing yoga (in hopes that she can keep running for a few more years to come).

Contributions from Anne Curzan

  • TWTS: "Large" occupies a large space in our lexicon
    It's clearly different to talk about a large country and the country at large, but these two meanings of "large" are historically related. A listener named Edward Kudla recently wrote t …
  • TWTS: "Out of hand" or "off hand?" It's all in your hands
    Something that’s out of your hands is different from something that’s out of hand, which is usually different from something that’s offhand. So which phrase goes where? When our listener Bruce Sagan h …
  • TWTS: Our bona fide take on Latin pronunciation
    This week we're getting back to our roots. Our Latin roots, that is. A listener named Seth Epstein asked us how to pronounce the Latin phrase "in situ." He says, "I've heard i …
  • TWTS: Pundits have thoughts about "pundents"
    There are pundits who really don't like it if people call them "pundents." As a listener pointed out to us, this mispronunciation isn't uncommon. Susan Serafin Jess says, "The …
  • TWTS: Two "p" words with nothing in common
    This week we looked at two words that have nothing to do with each other, aside from the fact that they both begin with “p.” At least they’ve got one thing in common. Our first “p” word is “pound.” Ou …