The SAT is changing things up, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just because words like membranous are no longer in the verbal section doesn’t mean kids aren’t learning important vocabulary. And speaking of useful terms, shouldn’t we have an English word for “the parents of your child’s spouse”? Actually, there is one. And if your daughter gets divorced, should she call her former husband her . . .  wasband? Plus, Sheboyganisms like fry out and hot tamales, please find attached and other e-mail language, the two meanings of inertia, Z-plurals, and mispronounced words.

This episode first aired May 2, 2014.

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 Learning the Proper Pronunciation
Precocious readers need not be ashamed of mispronouncing words like misled or epitome—it’s never too late to actually hear it pronounced properly for the first time, although it can be a little embarrassing.

 Wasband
When the term ex-husband sounds too prickly of a descriptor, try wasband.

 Woodpecker Joke
Nothing’s hungrier than a woodpecker with a headache. Think about it for a second—it does makes sense.

 The Common Meaning of Inertia
In the scientific sense, inertia is the tendency for things to continue doing what they’re doing, like staying in motion. But the common meaning of inertia almost always refers to the tendency to do nothing, making inertia something that must be overcome in order to get things done.

 Call In The Dogs
If you want to check the weather without leaving the sofa, just call in the dogs and see if they’re wet.

 Another Round of the License Plate Game
Quiz Guy John Chaneski is back with his classic License Plate Game. He’ll give you three letters, and you have to come up with the shortest possible word that contains them in that order.

 Please Find Attached
To some, the phrase please find attached might sound like musty old language for the e-mail age. It’s always smart to be formal when the context is all business, but there are other phrases that convey the same meaning, such as I’ve attached and Here is the document you requested.

 Cherry Lifesaver
Why shouldn’t it be a term of endearment to call someone a cherry Lifesaver? Cherry’s the best flavor!

 Pronouncing “Indicted”
If you grew up reading Hardy Boys books, chances are you knew the term indicted long before you ever heard it pronounced.

 Such As vs. Such Clauses As
The expressions such as and such clauses as are both acceptable.

 P/U Dialect
The P/U dialect, common in the South, is marked by distinct emphasis on the first syllable of words such as police and umbrella.

 First Word “Uh-Oh”
Parents of a toddler may wonder if Uh-oh should count as their child’s first word. Yep, and it’s actually pretty common first word for little kids, since mishaps are things they learn about early on.

 Terms for “Your Child’s In-Laws”
We need a common word for “the parents of your son-in-law or daughter-in-law.” Although English has the word affines, it’s rarely used outside of such fields as anthropology or psychiatry. Other languages have more commonly used terms for “your child’s in-laws,” such as Yiddish machatunim or machetunim, and Spanish consuegros.

 SAT Revision
The SAT is cutting depreciatory and membranous from the verbal section of the test, but don’t go insane in the membrane—there’s been no depreciation in knowledge among the youth.

 Z Plurals
Z-plurals are plurals that would end with an s but get a z instead, for style pointz.

 Sheboyganisms
In and around Sheboygan, Wisconsin, barbecues are known as fry outs even though nothing’s fried. And a hot tamale is more like a sloppy joe sandwich.

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

Photo by Jun Seita. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Book Mentioned in the Broadcast

The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon

Music Used in the Broadcast

Title Artist Album Label
Selma March Grant Green / Donald Byrd His Majesty King Funk / Up With Donald Byrd Polygram
Willow Weep For Me Grant Green / Donald Byrd His Majesty King Funk / Up With Donald Byrd Polygram
That Lucky Old Sun Grant Green / Donald Byrd His Majesty King Funk / Up With Donald Byrd Polygram
Chalupa Jungle Fire Tropicoso Nacional Records
Cantaloupe Woman Grant Green / Donald Byrd His Majesty King Funk / Up With Donald Byrd Polygram
Daddy Grapes Grant Green / Donald Byrd His Majesty King Funk / Up With Donald Byrd Polygram
Blind Man Blind Man Grant Green / Donald Byrd His Majesty King Funk / Up With Donald Byrd Polygram
Firewalker Jungle Fire Tropicoso Nacional Records
Boom Boom Grant Green / Donald Byrd His Majesty King Funk / Up With Donald Byrd Polygram
Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book Verve