Does your handwriting look like chicken scratches, calligraphy, or maybe something in between? Martha and Grant discuss the state of penmanship, the phenomenon linguists call creaky voice, euphemisms for going to the bathroom, and the New England expression “I hosey that!”
This episode first aired February 23, 2009.
Does your handwriting look like chicken scratches, calligraphy, or maybe something in between? There’s a new book out about the history of penmanship. It’s called Script & Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting, by Kitty Burns Florey.
If you want to claim something—say, the front seat of a car or the last piece of cake—what do you say? Dibs? Boney? How about “I hosey that!”? The hosts talk about this New England expression, its possible origins, and its equivalent in other parts of the country.
A caller has a hard time remembering which is correct: “Give the book to my husband and me,” or “Give the book to my husband and I.” Martha offers a sure-fire, quick-and-easy way to know if “husband and I” or “husband me” are right every time.
In honor of the 44th U.S. president, Quiz Guy Greg Pliska offers a word game “Glom-a Obama.” The object: Figure out a series of rhyming two-word phrases by guessing the word to be added to the name “Obama.” For example, if Mr. Obama had been born in one of Japan’s second-largest city, he would be “_____________ Obama.”
In this week’s installment of Slang This!, a member of the National Puzzlers League tries to separate the real slang terms from the fake ones. Try this one: Which of the following expressions really is a British synonym for the willies, the heebie jeebies or a similar kind of “nervous freakout”? Would that be the belching withers or the screaming abdabs? And which of the following terms is Australian slang for “people from the United States”? Is it septics or songbirds? (The Aussies are all rolling their eyes at this obvious answer.)
If you’re having a conversation with someone, are you speaking with them, speaking to them, talking to them, or talking with them? A caller wonders what differences, if any, exist among all those expressions.
You might have heard Brits say “I’m going to spend a penny” when they have to visit the loo. The hosts discuss the reason for this phrase, and other euphemisms for making a trip to the toilet, such as “I’m going to visit Miss White” and “I’m going to go drop off some friends at the lake.”
A caller observes that after moving to Indianapolis, he noticed that many of the locals say the names of commercial enterprises as if they’re plural or possessive, even when they’re not, such as calling Walmart “Walmart’s.” Grant explains the inclination to add the S sound to the names of businesses in casual speech and writing.
Photo by Jason Ralston. Used under a Creative Commons license.
Book Mentioned in the Episode
|Script & Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting by Kitty Burns Florey|