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Eastern Seaboard, West Coast

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Shadowdabbled. Moon-blanched. Augusttremulous. William Faulkner often used odd adjectives like these. But why? Grant and Martha discuss the poetic effects of compressed language. Also, African-American proverbs, classic children’s books, pore vs. pour, and the double meaning of the word sanction. This episode first aired February 5, 2011.

Classic Children’s Books

 Amid the stacks of new titles at the library, Grant picks out The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame to read with his son. The hosts discuss the appeal of classic children’s books.

Coast vs. Seaboard

 A bi-coastal listener wonders about the terms West Coast and eastern seaboard. Why don’t we say Californians live on the western seaboard?

Pore vs. Pour

 Does an avid reader pore or pour over a book?

African-American Proverbs

 There is always a person greater or lesser than yourself. Grant shares this and other African-American proverbs.

Twin Ends Word Game

 Quiz Guy John Chaneski borrows a classic word game from Joseph Shipley called Twin Ends.

That Smarts

 The expression that smarts, meaning “that hurts,” dates back over a thousand years.


 Does sanction mean “a penalty” or “an approval”? Well, both. Martha explains the nature of contranyms, also known as Janus words. Here’s an article about them in the periodical Verbatim.

“What Would You Serve” from Listeners

 Listeners share their suggestions for the game What Would You Serve? Hosting a golfer for dinner? Tea and greens should be lovely!

Faulknerian Adjectives

 William Faulkner used adjectives like shadowdabbled, Augusttremulous, and others that can only be described as, well, Faulknerian. Grant and Martha trade theories about why the great writer chose them. The University of Virginia has an online audio archive of Faulkner, recorded during his tenure as that school’s Writer-in-Residence. Also, check out this splendid 1956 Paris Review interview with Faulkner about the art of writing.


 In a previous episode, we wondered how U-turn might translate in different languages. One listener explains that in Hebrew, drivers make a horseshoe or a hoof-turn.

Amended Spellings from 1800s

 The Century Dictionary contains a list of amended spellings from the late 1800s that only creates more of the confusion it set out to alleviate.

We Appreciate Your Asking

 Which is correct: “We appreciate your asking” or “We appreciate you’re asking”?

Texas Talk

 A new transplant to Dallas wants to assimilate into the Texan way of speaking without offending the locals or forcing any new vocabulary.


 Ever hear a broadcast where the announcer enunciates a little too precisely? Grant and Martha discuss the effect of softening syllables, such as “prolly” for “probably,” and “wanna” for “want to.”

This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, and produced by Stefanie Levine.

Photo by Donna Tomlinson. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Books Mentioned in the Episode

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Century Dictionary

Music Used in the Episode

Hot ThursdayBei Bei and Shawn LeeInto The WindUbiquity Records
All Wrapped UpMelvin SparksAkilah!Prestige Records, Inc.
Also Sprach ZarathustraDeodatoPreludeCTI
Kiss The SkyShawn Lee’s Ping Pong OrchestraVoices and ChoicesUbiquity Records
Italy 73Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong OrchestraMiles of StylesUbiquity Records
Heavy TrafficRay ShanklinHeavy Traffic SoundtrackFantasy Records
September 13DeodatoPreludeCTI
Let Me Blow Your MindShawn Lee’s Ping Pong OrchestraHits The HitsUbiquity Records
Let’s Call The Whole Thing OffHarry Connick Jr.When Harry Met Sally: Music From The Motion PictureSony

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