Hi, all!

In last weekend's archive episode, we discussed the musical language of railroad conductors’ calls. Also, the military slang term cumshaw, tips for learning Latin, the influence of Spanish on English, hell-to-the-no, and "how the cow ate the cabbage." Listen:


Big news from Dictionary Land this week! The online version of the Oxford English Dictionary is officially relaunched. Take a guided tour of the new, online OED:


We're eagerly anticipating the American Dialect Society's vote on 2010's "Word of the Year" in January. Meanwhile in Germany, a panel has chosen that country's "Youth Word of the Year," and it's a great one: "niveaulimbo." Literally, it means "limbo of standards." And yes, the idea is something that goes lower and lower.

Deutsche-Welle reports that "niveaulimbo" connotes "the ever worsening quality of TV programs, the atmosphere at a party that thins out before midnight, or a conversation that quickly hits the gutter when alcohol is involved." More:


We've chuckled over the years at the "Bad Sex in Fiction" award from Britain's Literary Review. But in Salon, Laura Miller argues that such eye-rolling does more harm than good: "Is there any reason why the literature that makes us laugh, cry, and rage shouldn't also, occasionally, turn us on?"


BEHIND THE SCENES: Be sure to check out next week's episode, which includes Grant and Martha's book recommendations for word lovers of all ages on your gift list.

Thanks to all of you who responded to our year-end online pledge drive. Your tax-deductible contributions will help us bring you even more brand-new episodes next year. So, thanks! If you haven't helped out yet, there's still time. Just click the link below to contribute in any amount:


Thanks from your fellow word lovers!

Martha and Grant

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