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Town Hall Seattle: Arts & Culture Series

The Arts & Culture series enriches our community with imagination and creativity. Whether reinventing the classics for a new audience or presenting an innovative new art form, these events are aimed at expanding horizons. From poetry to music to storytelling, this series leaves our audiences inspired, encouraged, and seeing the world with new eyes.

Checkout our new bi-weekly podcast "In the Moment"

Highlighting big ideas from both recent and soon-to-come events. A rolling Town Hall timeline, with you at the center. Every two weeks, hosts Steve Scher and Jini Palmer rewind through the recent past and fast-forward to the near future, catching you up on events you may have missed and offering a glimpse into the weeks ahead.

Don't miss our other series podcasts:

 

Town Hall is a gathering place where ideas are planted and movements grow. It’s where we come together as a community to listen and be heard—to ask and answer the big questions facing our city and our world. Annually, we present hundreds of artists and scholars, and collaborate with more than 150 grassroots groups in our self-produced programs. Rooted in the belief that we all deserve a voice, our programming reflects—and inspires—our region's best impulses: creativity, empathy, and innovation. With our podcast series, we take one more step towards making our programming accessible to all. 

Apr 9, 2018

Do you have strong feelings about the word “irregardless”? Have you ever tried to define the word “is”? Many of us take dictionaries for granted, and few may realize that the process of writing dictionaries is, in fact, as lively and dynamic as language itself. Kory Stamper took our stage to crack open the complex, obsessive world of lexicography—the practice of making dictionaries—in her book Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries. Stamper revealed the agonizing decisions about which words to define and how to do it, to the knotty questions of usage in an ever-changing language. She outlined the intricacies of the process, such as why small words are the most difficult to define, how it can take nine months to define a single word, and how our biases about language and pronunciation can have tremendous social influence. In the process she reveals little-known surprises—for example, the fact that “OMG” was first used in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917. Join Stamper for a delve into the complexities and eccentricities of the English language, and the startlingly rich world of quirky and erudite individuals who quietly shape the way we communicate.

Kory Stamper is a lexicographer (that is, a writer and editor of dictionaries) who spent almost two decades working at Merriam-Webster. She has written and appeared in the “Ask the Editor” video series at Merriam-Webster, and has traveled around the world giving talks and lectures on language and lexicography. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Washington PostThe Guardian and The New York Times and presents her own writing on her blog at harmlessdrudgery.com.

Recorded live at Seattle University by Town Hall Seattle on Sunday, March 25, 2018.