Sure, there’s Grandma and Grampa, but there’s also Gammy, Bumpy, Dadoo, Gre-Gre, Kiki, Kerkel, Monga, Nee-Nee, Pots, Rah-Rah and Woo-Woo. Martha and Grant talk about the endlessly inventive names grandchildren call their grandparents. They also discuss Seinfeldisms, couch potatoes, and where in the world your car can and will be stopped by robots. Really!
This episode first aired March 21, 2009.
Inventive Names for Grandparents
What do people call their grandparents? Sure, there’s Grandma and Grampa, but there’s also Gammy, Bumpy, Dadoo, Gre-Gre, Kiki, Kerkel, Monga, Nee-Nee, Pots, Rah-Rah and Woo-Woo. Martha and Grant talk about the endlessly inventive names grandchildren call their grandparents.
In Ireland you’ll find that some folks have an odd habit of gasping in mid-conversation. A Texan who lived in Dublin for years says he found this speech trait disconcerting. The hosts explain that this “pulmonic ingressive” is heard other places around the world. More about ingressives here, including examples in audio clips from Sweden and Scotland.
Martha shares listener email about what to call that icy buildup in your car’s wheel wells. Fenderbergs, anyone?
Quiz Guy Greg Pliska has a puzzle called “Wordrows,” a.k.a. “Welded Palindromes.” They’re two-word palindromes, in other words. For example, what two-word palindrome means “beige bug”?
What’s the origin of the term couch potato? Grant has the story of the guys credited with coining this term for boob-tube aficionados.
Your dining companion suddenly starts choking. Once his coughing subsides, he exclaims, “Whew! Something when down my Sunday throat!” Sunday throat? Martha explains this odd expression.
Slang Quiz with June Casagrande
In this week’s installment of “Slang This!,” Grant and Martha are joined by June Casagrande, author of Mortal Syntax: 101 Language Choices That Will Get you Clobbered by the Grammar Snobs — Even If You’re Right. June tries to pick out the true slang terms from a group that includes the expressions hot wings, bird farm, bellybag, and budget.
Held Up by Robots
When you’re late for something in Johannesburg, you can always say you were “held up by robots” and no one will think twice. That’s because in South Africa, a robot is a traffic light. The hosts discuss this and other terms for those helpful semaphores.
Online Style Guide
What’s the best style guide for online writing?
In William Howitt’s Madam Dorrington of the Dene, a character named Vincent says, “Don’t let my father be fearful of me. I will be as ravenously ambitious, and as gigantically work-brickle […] as he can desire.” Grant has the goods on the dialect expression work-brittle or work brickle, which means “energetic” or “industrious.”
Photo by Tawheed Manzoor. Used under a Creative Commons license.
Book Mentioned in the Broadcast
|Madam Dorrington of the Dene by William Howitt|