Saturday, January 6, 2007

Why Can't We Have Television Like This?

On the BBC, they have a television show called Balderdash and Piffle and I think it's a pretty amazing idea. The show follows Oxford English Dictionary linguistic scholars as they try to track down the origins of words. The best part is that the audience follows along and engages in the process of tracking down word origins.

Here is the list of words they are trying to track right now. The show often focuses on slang, because those are the most difficult to track. (They are so difficult to track because it starts in verbal language among social groups and then travels to mainstream written language later.) This season they have divided groups into themes, so that if you have a particular hobby (like fashion) you can track down fashion related words.

Since I only currently watch a few shows on American television, I wonder why we don't have our own Balderdash & Piffle. Are we too busy making shows like this? And this? And this? I've never been much of an anglophile, but I suddenly want to move to Britain. Or at least move my television there.