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What Makes A Word? Making Sense Of The Argle-Bargle

Its been a busy week for the Supreme Court. Not surprisingly, that means it has been a busy week for linguists. Consider that in the last few days we’ve heard Justice Antonin Scalia use both jiggery-pokery and mummeries.

Justice Scalia is known for his eyebrow-raising words. In recent years he’s also used the words ukase and argle-bargle.

Are these really words, even if no one knows them? What makes a word a word? And while we’re constantly putting words into the dictionary, do we ever take them out? The director of Tufts University’s Linguistics Lab, Ariel Goldberg, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with his thoughts.


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