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Playing at adulthood with big words

Comedian Julie Klausner, in her “How Was Your Week?” podcast, suggested in passing that there are some things–some words–that are of use nowhere but in college.

In one episode she says “prurient,” then pauses for a confession. “I never learned to pronounce that word, because you shouldn’t,” Ms. Klausner said, preparing for the pivot. “You should only write it in a term paper, then graduate and stop spending your parents’ money.” (Jason Zinoman, “A Comedian’s Podcast,” NY Times, 1/1/13)

It makes a miniature portrait of the college student playing at adulthood with toys that are of no use in the rest of life, and implies a general failure of academics to make their special language connect with the world.

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