It didn't take long for journalist Stefan Fatsis to get hooked on competitive Scrabble. Before he knew it, he was up all night studying dictionaries, playing solo games against himself, and unscrambling anagrams for kicks. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, inside competitive Scrabble's strange subculture. Also, fast-talking movie dames – these dolls could really dish it out. And, the history of the alphabet.
Linguist Dennis Preston blasts the myth that Mid-Westerners set the standard for American English. He tells Jim Fleming that American regional accents are distinctive and becoming even more so as time goes on. During the Civil War, Northerners sounded just like Southerners, but they don't now. Also, Maria DiBattista teaches English and Film at Princeton University, and is the author of "Fast-talking Dames." She tells Steve Paulson about the strong leading ladies of the film comedies of the thirties and forties and says Katherine Hepburn, Rosalind Rusell and Barbara Stanwyck were some of the most exciting women ever to grace the silver screen.SEGMENT 2:
Stefan Fatsis is a Wall Street Journal reporter, an NPR commentator, and the author of "Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players." He tells Jim Fleming how he got onto the competitive Scrabble circuit, and how it's changed his life.SEGMENT 3:
Historian and travel writer John Man has written a biography of the alphabet - "Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World." He tells Steve Paulson that before the invention of letters, writing was the jealously guarded prerogative of the elite, and that the modern alphabet goes all the way back to ancient times.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 01-07-22-B.
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