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: A couple of thoughts on "a couple of"
    A couple of things can clearly be two things. For many people though, a couple of things can include three or even four things. That's because the phrase "a couple of" has some elastici …
  • TWTS: To Zoom or not to Zoom?
    Cars, planes, cameras and people have been zooming around for decades with a lower-case "z." These days, with so many of us working from home, many of us find ourselves doing a different kin …
  • TWTS: Hatching, semitrucks, and cleaners
    What do eggs, Old Norse, semitrucks, and cleaners have in common? Nothing that we know of, except that we talk about all of them in this week's That's What They Say.
  • TWTS: Why "oneteen" and "twoteen" aren't a thing
    Languages are full of patterns. They're also full of words that break those patterns. A listener named Dave Gee sent us a question about "eleven" and "twelve" which appear to …
  • TWTS: Take care with the implications of "take care of"
    Auto-antonyms are words that can hold two, generally opposite, meanings at the same time. Once you know what they are, you’ll start to see them everywhere. “Dust” is a good example. You can remove dus …