A woman whose mother is a native Spanish speaker learning English was bothered when her daughter used the phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” taking offense at the idea that her daughter was calling her a dog. She might instead have used “A leopard can’t change its spots,” or “As the twig is bent, so inclines the tree,” and from Latin, “Senex psittacus negligit ferulam,” or “An old parrot doesn’t mind the stick.” This is part of a complete episode.
- Lie Like a Rug 08/26/2017: The words we choose can change attitudes — and change lives. A swing-dance instructor has switched to gender-neutral language when teaching couples. He says that... [more]
- Pig Latin 08/19/2017: Grant and Martha discuss the L-word — or two L-words, actually: liberal and libertarian. They reflect different political philosophies, so why do they look so... [more]
- Whistle in the Dark 08/12/2017: The language and melodies of military marching songs connect grown children with their parents who served, as do parents' love letters from World War II.... [more]
- Chocolate Gravy 08/05/2017: Say you have an acquaintance you always see at the dog park or the playground. But one night, you run into them at the movies,... [more]
- Fickle Finger of Fate 07/29/2017: A young woman wants a family-friendly way to describe a statement that's fraudulent or bogus, but all the words she can think of sound old-fashioned.... [more]