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?
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.
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!
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”?
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 Thursday||Bei Bei and Shawn Lee||Into The Wind||Ubiquity Records|
|All Wrapped Up||Melvin Sparks||Akilah!||Prestige Records, Inc.|
|Also Sprach Zarathustra||Deodato||Prelude||CTI|
|Kiss The Sky||Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra||Voices and Choices||Ubiquity Records|
|Italy 73||Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra||Miles of Styles||Ubiquity Records|
|Heavy Traffic||Ray Shanklin||Heavy Traffic Soundtrack||Fantasy Records|
|Let Me Blow Your Mind||Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra||Hits The Hits||Ubiquity Records|
|Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off||Harry Connick Jr.||When Harry Met Sally: Music From The Motion Picture||Sony|
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