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Hooptie Rollin’, Tailpipe Draggin’

In this week's episode, we go from hip-hop to a public television show about the intra- and inter-class conflicts in a British manor house.


We also talk about "flupgrades," what you might call it when a software update hurts more than it helps, why girls used to wear blue and boys used to wear pink, and we explore the subtle moral judgment behind "she's no better than she ought to be," which was used in "Downton Abbey."

Elsewhere in that episode, Grant recites decades-old hip-hop lyrics in a chat about "hoopties," which is a name for beat-up cars, a performance for which Gregory May of San Diego gave him props on our Facebook group:


Grant replies, "I was schooled in hip-hop in the late Eighties, mainly by the hosts of the hip-hop/rap show on the student radio station in Columbia, Mo., KCOU 88.1 FM, where I was DJ and later general manager. I was a nobody but they taught me a lot, we got into trouble together, we had good times. They called me Skinny G."

You mean that walrus wrestling with Martha in the picture on the top of the AWWW website was once skinny? Oh, yes.

Here are pictures of Grant at that radio station in about 1988 or 1989:



By the way, we not only have a Facebook *group*, we have a Facebook *page.* Shiny!


And you know we're on Twitter, right?


Like a couple of gabby people could be kept off of it, or from noticing the #bookswithalettermissing hashtag when it made the tweet rounds a couple of weeks ago. It just tickled our fancy.

People came up with book titles like this romp about the sand-covered South, "A Confederacy of Dunes," and that famous guide to Jewish sensuality, "The Oy of Sex."

We talked more about them in last week's episode, and about "hair product," "right on the tee na na," plead vs. pled, "popinjay," and "pimp," and more.


Want even more books with a letter missing? Tommy Donbavand has done a masterful job of putting thousands of them in a free ebook:



Professor Kirk Hazen and a team of graduate students at West Virginia University are undertaking the West Virginia Dialect Project, a deep study of the sound, syntax and semantics of the state.


There's more than one sign language in Zimbabwe, and they're not completely compatible. "For example, the sign for 'shoe' in the capital, Harare, means 'pig' in the second city, Bulawayo," writes Steve Vickers for the BBC. Now a new dictionary will provide translations between the signing dialects.


Farooq Kperogi explains some back-formations in Nigerian English, in which one part of speech is created from a form that is, or merely looks, inflected (meaning, pluralized or conjugated). In that country, you might go to a get your hair "barbed" by a barber.


Writing for "Crikey," an Australian publication (of course!), sociolinguist Ingrid Piller notices there are political implications in subtitling. For example, what does it mean when a foreigner who speaks comprehensible idiomatic English is subtitled, when native English-speakers in the same film are not?


The Oxford English Dictionary staff explain the methods and reasons behind the complete revision of the dictionary for the third edition.



Did you know you can have Martha and Grant host or speak at your live events? For example, Grant will be emceeing an architectural awards ceremony this week, and next week Martha and Grant will be co-hosting a literacy event for Words Alive!


If you'd like to find out more about having them speak at or emcee your next event, no matter where in the world it is, drop them a line at words@waywordradio.org and we'll work something out.

Martha and Grant

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