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Ways To Avoid Punsplaining

Vince Rozmiarek

Hold your groans! Wordplay can be inventive, poignant and, at its finest, a shared discovery.

Some of the finest examples are portmanteaus: word mashups that create new meaning. An example — hetlagged (adj.) exhaustion from heteronormative media or social interactions. The Great Durham Pun Championship celebrates this brand of linguistic improvisation that serves as a springboard for conversation rather than a self-serving dead-end.

Host Frank Stasio explores the continued importance of creative wordsmithing with last year’s champion, Matt Morain, and with the competition’s judge, George Gopen, a professor emeritus of the practice of rhetoric at Duke University. The sold-out 2020 Great Durham Pun Championship will take place Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Motorco Music Hall and will benefit the Durham Literacy Center.

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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