Books that make great gifts for language-lovers, the difference between a nerd and a geek, and talk about a new term, “poutrage,” and what do you call the crust in the corners of your eyes after a night’s sleep?
This episode first aired December 11, 2010. Listen here:
Download the MP3 here 23.5 MB).
What do the words marathon, paisley, and bikini have in common? They’re all words that derive from the names of places. Martha and Grant talk about these and other toponyms.
In the Pacific Northwest, the term spendy means “expensive.”
Grant has an update on the jocular pronunciation of “skedooly” for the word schedule, following up on our original conversation.
Puzzle Guy John Chaneski presents a quiz called “Repeat After Me.” It’s a quiz that’s neither so-so nor too-too.
A Marine at Camp Pendleton says that while in Iraq, he and his buddies heard the greeting “Yambo!” from Ugandan troops there. Now they use it with each other, and he wonders about its literal meaning. Martha explains that it’s a common Kiswahili term.
In the novel Jane Eyre, characters sometimes speak whole sentences in French. A high school English teacher says her students wonder if there’s a term for inserting whole sentences from another language into fiction. Grant talks about the use of foreignisms and loanwords.
Martha has a crazy crossword clue sent by a listener: “Camel’s Nemesis.” Twelve letters. Got it?
Residents of Maine are called “Mainers,” people in Texas are “Texans,” those in Wisconsin are “Wisconsinites,” and people in Phoenix are … “Phoenicians“? Grant and Martha explain that there are consistent rules for the naming the locals. The book they reference is Paul Dickson’s Labels for Locals.
Martha and Grant offer gift recommendations for language lovers:
OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, by Allan Metcalf’
Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers, by Pendred Noyce.
Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language, by Deborah Fallows
What do you call the crust that forms in the corners of your eyes when you sleep? Sleepy dust, sleepy sand, eyejam, eye boogers, eye potatoes, sleep sugar, eye crusties, sleepyjacks. An Indiana man wonders if anyone else uses his family’s term for it, cat butter.
Is the proper phrase toe the line or tow the line?
Grant talks about how that great American export, the word OK, was part of the first conversation on the surface of the moon.
You upgrade your software, and instead of working better, it’s worse. Is there a word for that phenomenon? Downgrade? Oopsgrade? How about Newcoked?
Poutrage is a new term for “acting outraged when you’re really not. It’s sort of like accismus, “the pretended refusal of something actually very much desired.”