Is master a gender-neutral title? James from Seattle, Washington, hosts a local pub quiz night, where he’s known as the Quizmaster. But, he wonders, would it be appropriate to call a woman a Quizmaster? Of course! Many titles, like Postmaster or even actor, have come to be gender-neutral. We wouldn’t say Quizmistress because mistress has taken on a specific connotation–namely, the female lover of a married man. For more on gender and language, Grant recommends University of Michigan professor Ann Kurzan’s book Gender Shifts in the History of English. This is part of a complete episode.
- Mudlarking (episode #1561) 01/25/2021: Twice a day the River Thames recedes, revealing a muddy shoreline. Hobbyists known as mudlarks stroll the surface searching for objects that have found their... [more]
- Snaggletooth (episode #1560) 01/11/2021: Many of us struggled with the Old English poem "Beowulf" in high school. But what if you could actually hear "Beowulf" in the English of... [more]
- Like a Boiled Owl (episode #1559) 12/21/2020: What's it like to hike the Pacific Crest Trail all the way from Mexico to Canada? You'll end up with sore muscles and blisters, and... [more]
- Your Two Cents (episode #1558) 12/07/2020: Astronauts returning from space say they experience what's called the overview effect, a new understanding of the fragility of our planet and our need to... [more]
- Sock it to Me (episode #1557) 11/16/2020: In the 15th century, the word respair meant "to have hope again." Although this word fell out of use, it's among dozens collected in a... [more]