05/11/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Ben Zimmer New 'On Language' Columnist: New York Times Magazine Names William Safire Successor

The New York Times Magazine has named Ben Zimmer its "On Language" columnist.

Zimmer, described in the Times' announcement as a linguist and lexicographer, succeeds William Safire, who launched the column in 1979 and wrote it through his death last fall.

Zimmer is the executive producer of and; previously, he was the editor of American dictionaries at Oxford University Press.

"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," magazine editor Gerald Marzorati said in the announcement. "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."

Zimmer's column will appear bi-weekly and will begin on March 21.