Books that make great gifts for language-lovers, the difference between a nerd and a geek, and talk about a new term, poutrage, and what do you call the crust in the corners of your eyes after a night’s sleep?

This episode first aired December 11, 2010.

Download the MP3.

What do the words marathon, paisley, and bikini have in common? They’re all words that derive from the names of places. Martha and Grant talk about these and other toponyms.

 Geek or Nerd?
What’s the difference between a geek and a nerd? An Ohio professor of popular culture wants to talk about it. Here’s the a MetaFilter thread and a Venn diagram about the differences.

In the Pacific Northwest, the term spendy means “expensive.”

 Updates for the Skedooly
Grant has an update on the jocular pronunciation of skedooly for the word schedule, following up on our original conversation.

 Repeat After Me Word Quiz
Puzzle Guy John Chaneski presents a quiz called “Repeat After Me.” It’s a quiz that’s neither so-so nor too-too.

A Marine at Camp Pendleton says that while in Iraq, he and his buddies heard the greeting “Yambo!” from Ugandan troops there. Now they use it with each other, and he wonders about its literal meaning. Martha explains that it’s a common Kiswahili term.

 Foreignisms and Loanwords
In the novel Jane Eyre, characters sometimes speak whole sentences in French. A high school English teacher says her students wonder if there’s a term for inserting whole sentences from another language into fiction. Grant talks about the use of foreignisms and loanwords.

 Camel’s Nemesis
Martha has a crazy crossword clue sent by a listener: “Camel’s Nemesis.” Twelve letters. Got it?

 Names for Locals
Residents of Maine are called “Mainers,” people in Texas are “Texans,” those in Wisconsin are “Wisconsinites,” and people in Phoenix are … “Phoenicians”? Grant and Martha explain that there are consistent rules for the naming the locals. The book they reference is Paul Dickson’s Labels for Locals.

 Books for Language Lovers
Martha and Grant offer gift recommendations for language lovers:

Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages, by Guy Deutscher.
OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word, by Allan Metcalf.
Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers, by Pendred Noyce.
Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language, by Deborah Fallows.

 Cat Butter
What do you call the crust that forms in the corners of your eyes when you sleep? Sleepy dust, sleepy sand, eyejam, eye boogers, eye potatoes, sleep sugar, eye crusties, sleepyjacks. An Indiana man wonders if anyone else uses his family’s term for it, cat butter.

 “Toe the Line” vs. “Tow the Line”
Is the proper phrase toe the line or tow the line?

 OK Moon Talk
Grant talks about how that great American export, the word OK, was part of the first conversation on the surface of the moon.

You upgrade your software, and instead of working better, it’s worse. Is there a word for that phenomenon? Downgrade? Oopsgrade? How about Newcoked?

Poutrage is a new term for “acting outraged when you’re really not. It’s sort of like accismus, “the pretended refusal of something actually very much desired.”

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

Photo by Mark Probst. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Books Mentioned in the Broadcast

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Labels for Locals by Paul Dickson
Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages by Guy Deutscher
OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word by Allan Metcalf
Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers by Pendred Noyce
Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language by Deborah Fallows

Music Used in the Broadcast

Title Artist Album Label
Go Je Je Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra Government Magic Afrosound Records
Musicawa Silt The Daktaris Soul Explosion Desco Records
It’s Too Late Johnny “Hammond” Smith Breakout KUDU
Funky So And So Sugarman 3 and Co. Pure Sugar Cane Daptone Records
Ghetto Funk Duralcha Funk Spectrum II BBE
Daktaris Walk The Daktaris Soul Explosion Desco Records
Breakout Johnny “Hammond” Smith Breakout KUDU
Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Maseo & All The Kings Men Doing Their Own Thing Charly Records
Funky Washing Machine World Wonders Funk Spectrum II BBE
Tropical African Music Machine Stone Cold Funk Music Club Records
Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off Fred Astaire Fred Astaire’s Finest Hour Verve
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