When the Word Nerds spoke of syntax in their last episode, they struck an apologetic tone. Sorry about using the word 'syntax', we mean word order, the way we build a sentence. They seem to be under the impression syntax is too technical a term for school kids and the wide public. Apparently it hasn't occurred to them, or they just do not know, for a whole segment in the public and among the school kids, syntax is a word they know from computer programming and scripting. You have to get your syntax right, otherwise the compiler won't accept the code.
A charming highlight in the program is when Dave reads from the classic A Visit from Saint Nicholas by Clement Clark Moore:
"As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too."
How does the syntax allow for those last four words? Similarly the syntax of a line in Beowulf is discussed. Syntax used for a cliffhanger.
The Word Nerds are now sponsored by audible.com. This is a new trend I see among podcasts: sponsoring. More and more podcasts rake in sponsoring contracts that cover some of their expenses. This is yet another signal how podcasting is becoming more and more professional. TWN has always been very professional as far as the content is concerned, as are many others; this additional professionalism is all about dealing with the costs. As a listener, aside from the sponsor announcement, you are confronted with the sponsoring in the core of the show, because the sponsor and its offers including a prize to win are being discussed. Fill out the survey and you might get an iPod for free, nice, but I hope the Word Nerds will not let audible change their show any further.
Previous reviews of TWN on this blog:
Silence and Speechlessness,