Why Do People Keep Having Children? (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 6 First up: what are the factors that make a given person more or less likely to have children? And is the global population really going to double by the next century? Probably not. And then: “That’s a great question!” You hear this phrase in all kinds of media interviews, during the […]

Why Do People Keep Having Children?

Season 5, Episode 9

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: first up: what are the factors that make a given person more or less likely to have children? And is the global population really going to double by the next century? Probably not.

And then: “That’s a great question!” You hear this phrase in all kinds of media interviews, during the Q&A portion of tech and academic conferences, and in ordinary meetings. Where did this ubiquitous reply come from? Is it a verbal tic, a strategic rejoinder, or something more? We talk to a linguist, a media consultant and master interviewer Charlie Rose about why it’s rare to come across an interview these days where at least one question isn’t a “great” one.   

That’s a Great Question! A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Having been at the Freakonomics Radio podcast for a while now, I've noticed a trend. During an interview, you ask someone a question and, before they answer, they say "That's a great question!" Believe me, most of the questions I ask aren't that great. So what's going on here? Where did this reply come from? Is it a verbal tic, a strategic rejoinder, or something more?

That's the topic of our new episode, called (shockingly) "That's a Great Question!" (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

You'll hear from the linguist Arika Okrent, who examined a few huge databases for us (including the British National Corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English) to see if the phrase is indeed as common as it seems.