A sixth-grade teacher in San Antonio, Texas, is skeptical about a story that gringo derives from a song lyric. He’s right. The most likely source of this word is the Spanish word for “Greek,” griego, a term applied to foreigners much the same way that English speakers might say that an unintelligible language is Greek to me. The ancient Greeks, on the other hand, imitated the sound of foreigners with the word barbaroi, the source of our own word barbarian. This is part of a complete episode.
- Flee Fly Flo 01/02/2017: Wrapping up 2016 with words from the past year and some newsy limericks. Bigly and Brexit were on lots of lips this year, as well... [more]
- What To Call a Parent Who Loses a Child 01/02/2017: Although in English we have the terms orphan, widow, and widower, our language lacks a one-word term that means "bereaved parent." A few other languages... [more]
- Mmm-Bye 01/02/2017: Listeners respond to our earlier conversation about ending a telephone call with mmm-bye. This is part of a complete episode. ... [more]
- Barrow Pit 01/02/2017: A caller in Fort Laramie, Wyoming, refers to a roadside ditch as a borrow pit, as if the dirt dug from it was "borrowed" to... [more]
- Six and Eight 01/02/2017: A San Diego, California, listener recalls that when asked "How's it going?" his father would often respond "same old six and eight." It may be... [more]