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Michael Erard

Michael Erard is an author and journalist who writes about language, languages, and the people who use and study them. Based in Maine, he's newest book is Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners (Free Press 2012). Parts of the book were written at the Dobie Paisano ranch on the Ralph A. Johnston Fellowship awarded by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters in 2008.

He has contributed essays, reportage, and reviews to The New York Times, Science, Wired, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, New Scientist, Seed, the Southwest Review, and many others. He has also contributed essays and chapters to books, and a short story that originally appeared in The North American Review was selected for New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1999. He has an MA in linguistics and a PhD in rhetoric and linguistics, both from the University of Texas at Austin. His first book, Um...: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean, a natural history of verbal error and a cultural history of verbal fluency, was published in 2007 by Pantheon to wide critical acclaim.

Contact Information:
michael.erard [at]

Posts by Michael Erard

OBSERVATORY: The Elements – Molecules, Atoms and Quarks – of Style (03.26.12)
OBSERVATORY: Imaging the Brain (01.16.12)
OBSERVATORY: What I Didn’t Write About When I Wrote About Quitting Facebook (11.23.11)
OBSERVATORY: Notes on Getting the Daily Newspaper (07.21.11)
OBSERVATORY: It’s the 16th Ed. of the Chicago Manual of Style and I Feel Fine (10.04.10)
OBSERVATORY: The Dream Job Project Part II (07.19.10)
OBSERVATORY: The Dream Job Project (04.08.10)
OBSERVATORY: Notes on Being Born on Soil (12.14.09)
OBSERVATORY: A Short Manifesto on the Future of Attention (08.12.09)
OBSERVATORY: Cedars (04.21.09)
OBSERVATORY: Babel's Nobel (10.23.07)
OBSERVATORY: Languages as Design Objects (05.08.07)
OBSERVATORY: Word Made Flesh (01.13.07)
OBSERVATORY: The G Word (10.29.06)