Visual Thesaurus Editor Named New York Times "On Language" Columnist
Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and, has been named the language columnist for The New York Times Magazine. He will be replacing William Safire, who passed away last year after writing the "On Language" column for thirty years. Beginning with the March 21 issue of the Magazine, he will be writing the column on a biweekly basis.
Since joining the Thinkmap team in 2008, Zimmer has edited the Visual Thesaurus online magazine and has contributed his own "Word Routes" column. He had previously worked as editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press, and he remains a consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary, as well as a member of the American Dialect Society and the Dictionary Society of North America.
Zimmer's writing about language has also appeared in Slate, the Boston Globe,, and the linguistics blog Language Log. William Safire frequently called upon his linguistic expertise, once calling him "that etymological Inspector Javert." He filled in as "On Language" columnist when Safire went on hiatus due to ill health before his passing on September 27, 2009.
In the official announcement, New York Times Magazine editor Gerald Marzorati said, "Ben brings both an academic's deep knowledge and a maven's eye, ear and passion to his commentary on the way Americans write and speak now. We welcome him to our roster and know our readers and 'On Language' devotees will greatly enjoy his columns."
"It's an honor and a privilege to be welcomed in the space that William Safire called home for thirty years," Zimmer said. "I look forward to continuing this fine tradition with my own take on how language shapes our past, present and future."
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