John in Brattleboro, Vermont, is pondering words and phrases that change their meaning when they move from one language to another. For example, in Germany the English phrase public viewing doesn’t have to do with a wake, but a live sporting event. Similarly, in English, a la mode usually describes something topped with ice cream, a specialization of the French phrase that means “according the fashion.” And the Japanese imperative gambatte, from gambaru, meaning “doing one’s best and persevering to the bitter end,” is sometimes replaced by a word that sounds more like English, fighto! This is part of a complete episode.
- Life of Riley (episode #1533) 10/07/2019: Unwrap the name of a candy bar, and you just might find a story inside. For instance, one chewy treat found in many a checkout... [more]
- Off the Turnip Truck (episode #1532) 09/23/2019: It's hard to imagine now, but there was a time when people disagreed over the best word to use when answering the phone. Alexander Graham... [more]
- Loaded for Bear (episode #1531) 09/16/2019: One way to make your new business look trendy is to use two nouns separated by an ampersand, like Peach & Creature or Rainstorm &... [more]
- Mrs. Astor’s Horse (episode #1530) 07/29/2019: "What has a head like a cat, feet like a cat, a tail like a cat, but isn't a cat?" Answer: a kitten! A 1948... [more]
- At First Blush (episode #1529) 07/15/2019: Book recommendations and the art of apology. Martha and Grant share some good reads, including an opinionated romp through English grammar, a Spanish-language adventure novel,... [more]