Take a listen to this story, “What we do when we ‘curl up'” from today’s edition of the NPR show Fresh Air. This is resident linguist Geoff Nunberg (and I ask you: what other radio or any other show has a resident linguist?) commenting on and analyzing this phrase, one that seems especially popular with my students when we talk about things like reading online: “that will never replace curling up with a good book.” Nunberg unpacks this phrase in lots of interesting ways, noting that one “curls up” with a particular kind of book, and the phrase itself doesn’t really appear until there is furniture comfortable enough for one to “curl” into. In fact, he even suggests a connection between the use of the phrase and the invention of the lazy-boy recliner. Cool stuff.
Updated (December 23):
I stumbled across this web site, which is the text of the Nunberg commentary, published (apparently) on Nunberg’s own site.