Dr. Michael Erard

Writer and Linguist

Research Themes:  The Communicating Mind and Body

Writer and linguist Michael Erard writes stories about language, languages, and the people who use and study them. His freelance language journalism has appeared in the New York Times, Science, Aeon, New Scientist, Wired, and many other outlets, and he is the author of two books. The first, Um...: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean (Pantheon, 2007), tells the natural history and cultural implications of slips of the tongue and speech disfluencies. The second, Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners (Free Press, 2012), is the first linguistically-informed look at high intensity language learners called “hyperpolyglots" and has been translated into 8 languages. Erard received the Language, Linguistics, and the Public award in 2016 from the Linguistic Society of America and was writer-in-residence at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands in 2017. He graduated from Williams College and has an MA (linguistics) and PhD (English) from the University of Texas at Austin. He currently lives with his family in Maastricht, Netherlands.

First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that UBC’s campuses are situated within the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, and in the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and their peoples.

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