Is typing two spaces after a period “totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong?” Also, is the language of the movie True Grit historically accurate? Also, shut your pie-hole, Southern grammar, oh my Lady Gaga, and a little town called “Podunk.”

This episode first aired February 13, 2011.

Download the MP3.

 How Many Spaces?
How many spaces go after a period? Your schoolteacher may have taught you to use two, but others strongly disagree.

 Piehole
Shut your piehole! means “Shut your mouth!” Need more slang terms for the mouth? For starters, there’s potato trap, tater trap, tatty trap, bun trap, gingerbread trap, kissing trap, fly trap, rattle trap, baconhole, and cakehole.

 Podunk, America
Where is Podunk? Grant explains that a columnist in the 1800s used the name for his series called “Life in the Small Town of Podunk,” referring to a generic backwoods American town.

 Hard-Boiled Egg in Ceviche
A listener shares a phrase he learned in Peru that translates as “more lost than a hard-boiled egg in ceviche.” It describes someone who’s lost or clueless.

 Cryptic Crosswords Word Game
Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a word game worthy of the Saturday puzzle called “Cryptic Crosswords.”

 Formal Movie Language
Is the excessively formal language in “True Grit” (2010) historically accurate? The hosts discuss why the Coen brothers would do away with contractions to set a tone for the movie.

 Regardless vs. Irregardless
A transplant from Zimbabwe finds the word irregardless annoying and ungrammatical. Grant explains that regardless of its status, “irregardless” is needlessly redundant.

 Oh, My Goodness!
The phrase “Oh, my goodness!” may be a dated way to express surprise or disbelief. A listener asks for a contemporary replacement.

 Multiple Modals
Multiple modals, as in the phrase “I thought y’all may would have some more of them,” have their own logic and are well understood by many in the American South. The Database of Multiple Modals compiled by Paul Reed and Michael Montgomery is here.

 You’re a Card
If you call someone a card, it means they’re funny or quick-witted. Grant and Martha discuss the metaphors inspired by the language of playing cards.

 What Would You Serve Game
What do you serve to a lawyer coming to dinner? A listener shares her riddle for the “What Would You Serve” game?

 Trip the Light Fantastic
Have you been asked to trip the light fantastic? This phrase, meaning “dance the night away,” dates back to a poem by John Milton from 1640.

 Niveaulimbo
Martha shares the German slang term niveaulimbo, meaning “a limbo of standards.”

 Lb. Abbreviation
Why is the word pound abbreviated lb.? A listener from Tijuana, Mexico, learns that the answer relates to his native Spanish as well as the Latin term for “weighing.”

 Neruda Love Sonnet
Martha reads a love sonnet by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Here’s the text of the original Spanish, with an English translation by Mark Eisner. And here’s a lovely audio rendering of the poem in Spanish.

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

Photo by veganLazySmurf. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Music Used in the Broadcast

Title Artist Album Label
Transatlantic Quantic Apricot Morning Tru Thoughts
The 5th Exotic Quantic The 5th Exotic Tru Thoughts
Live Right Now Eddie Harris Plug Me In Atlantic
Mishaps Happening Quantic Mishaps Happening Ubiquity Records
It’s Crazy Eddie Harris Plug Me In Atlantic
Powerhouse Chester Thompson Powerhouse Black Jazz
Whiter Shade Of Pale Procol Harum Procol Harum SALVO
More Bounce To The Ounce Zapp & Roger More Bounce To The Ounce And Other Hits Flashback
Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off Fred Astarie Fred Astaire’s Finest Hour Verve
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