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Coinkydinks and Big Boxes

Welcome to another newsletter from A Way with Words!

This newsletter was originally supposed to go out on Monday, May 12th, but our service provider had a snafu and the messages disappeared into the ether. There are a lot of creatures on planets near Alpha Centauri scratching their heads right now.

This past weekend we had a rollicking good time on the air as we talked about words we mispronounce on purpose, "around Robin Hood's barn," the military slang term "jody," and "big box stores."


Talking about words we say wrong on purpose sprung from a newspaper column Grant wrote:


Well-known blogger Jason Kottke, and many others, took up the idea in their blogs and lots of people admitted that they, too, said things in a goofy way just for the fun of it. More than 200 comments about it are here:


Our colleague Ben Zimmer pointed to an article where this phenomenon was discussed in 1932:


This week Martha talked about weird book titles, like "I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen." More examples:

http://thebookseller.com/news/53656-oddest-book-titles-prize-shortlist-announced .html

We also talked about "Jody cadences" used in the military. Find out what a Jody cadence looks like:



The producer of the PBS children's show "Wordgirl" played our slang quiz. The show starts its new season May 26th and goes daily instead of weekly. Get the word:


Finally, we leave you with this silly video from JibJab. It's about "big box stores."


Best wishes,

Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

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Further reading

Animal Crackers (episode #1636)

Images of birds flutter inside lots of English words and phrases, from “nest egg” and “pecking order,” to proverbs from around the world—including a lovely Spanish saying about how birds sense light just before dawn. Plus...