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The Lakeview neighborhood known as Boystown. (WTTW News)

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of police, many Americans have been rethinking everyday language — and how it may contribute to systemic racism.

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(Graphic created using WordArt.com)

University of Chicago linguist Jason Riggle discusses some of the top words of 2019, including “they,” “existential” and “climate emergency.”

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The word “they” is displayed on a computer screen on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo / Jenny Kane)

The language mavens at Merriam-Webster have declared the personal pronoun their word of the year based on a 313% increase in look-ups on the company’s search site, Merriam-Webster.com, this year when compared with 2018.

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This Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, photo shows the word “existential” in a dictionary in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Dictionary.com picked “existential” as the word of the year. (AP Photo / Jenny Kane)

Climate change, gun violence, the very nature of democracy and an angsty little movie star called Forky helped propel “existential” to Dictionary.com’s word of the year.

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(terimakasih0 / Pixabay)

Are you scared of being separated from your cellphone? You are “nomophobic” – one of 2018’s words of the year. Linguist Jason Riggle gives us the rundown of this year’s top terms.

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(StartupStockPhotos / Pixabay)

The Wall Street Journal recently examined email and text anxiety caused by the “tyranny of the exclamation point.” We discuss the punctuation phenomenon.

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Much like 2016’s set, the words of 2017 are a political batch reflective of the tumultuous year we just put behind us. What else made the cut.

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Northwestern University professor Brian Edwards joins us to discuss a new report on the decline of second-language education in U.S. schools.

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How do you pronounce “Chicago”? Meet the author of a new book about how to speak Midwestern.

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“Anyone who has deadlines should also have a dictionary.” So writes Carol Fisher Saller in her book “The Subversive Copy Editor.” Saller returns to Chicago Tonight with some simple advice.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year for word nerds! We take a look at the candidates for 2016’s word of the year.

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Gender identity, social movements, and the changing way we communicate with each other all helped shape the list of words that dominated 2015. University of Chicago linguist Jason Riggle joins “Chicago Tonight” to talk about which words were big and why.

A Self-Described "Dictionary Evangelist" Looks at the Latest in Linguistics

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Erin McKean

Erin McKean founded the world's biggest online dictionary, Wordnik. A graduate of The University of Chicago, she has also written books on weird words and given TED Talks about the subject. She joins us to talk about the latest word trends and linguistic gymnastics. Take a quiz on weird words.

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Vape? Bae? Lumbersexual? What do you think the Word of the Year for 2014 should be? University of Chicago linguist Jason Riggle tells us what words were on everybody's lips this year and why.

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We take a look at fun, funky and completely unexpected words with Jason Riggle, a University of Chicago linguist who cast his vote on a wide spectrum of words that range from the ridiculous to the sublime.