A caller from Burlington, Vermont, has observed a slight change in the language of flight attendants’ instructions, replacing your with that. Instead of saying “Put your coat in the overhead compartment,” the ones on the airline she frequents say, “Put that coat in the overhead compartment.” Linguistic anthropologist Barbara Clark has analyzed the scripted language of flight attendants and finds their deferential speech is calculated in part to gain the respect and loyalty of passengers. This is part of a complete episode.
- Spill the Tea (episode #1521) 03/25/2019: If someone urges you to spill the tea, they probably don't want you tipping over a hot beverage. Originally, the tea here was the letter... [more]
- Dirty Laundry (#episode 1520) 03/11/2019: When you had sleepovers as a child, what did you call the makeshift beds you made on the floor? In some places, you call those... [more]
- Keep Your Powder Dry (episode #1519) 02/25/2019: Jacuzzi and silhouette are eponyms — that is, they derive from the names of people. An Italian immigrant to California invented the bubbly hot tub... [more]
- One-Armed Paper Hanger (episode #1518) 02/18/2019: The emotional appeal of handwriting and the emotional reveal of animal phrases. Should children be taught cursive writing in school, or is their time better... [more]
- Hair on Your Tongue (episode #1517) 02/11/2019: If you speak both German and Spanish, you may find yourself reaching for a German word instead of a Spanish one, and vice versa. This... [more]