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Playing Catch-up

Hi, all —

We’re back after a brief summer hiatus. So much to catch up on!

In last weekend’s archive edition, we discussed “interrobangs,” “pronequarks,” “catios,” “horse dumplings,” how to say “sleep like a log” in Swahili, and why “having a joint” means something entirely different in Britain. Listen:


Speaking of British English, the BBC recently invited its audience to share “Americanisms” that get under their skin. Boy howdy, did they respond! The BBC’s list of 50 peeves about Americans’ speech included “alphabetize,” “gotten,” “and “train station.”


Lynne Murphy, an American linguist living in the UK, is not amused. Read the takedown in her blog, “Separated by a Common Language.”


Stay tuned for more responses to this linguistic shot across the pond!

Ever wonder how they talk in Baltimore, hon? Graduate students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, have made some podcasts about the sound of English in “Baldamor.” Here, Inte’a DeShields explores the accents of local African-Americans, including the pronunciation of “curry” for “carry,” and “dog” for “dug”:


Why are dictionary definitions so convoluted? Ben Zimmer offers answers in the Boston Globe.


Remember our chat about the phrase “That’s a good question”? North Carolina listener Mark Pashayan was reminded of it recently by this New Yorker cartoon:


BEHIND THE SCENES: This week’s “Behind the Scenes” is extra super-duper long, because we’ve been extra super-busy outside the studio.

Congrats to our technical director and editor, Tim Felten and his lovely wife, Sheryll, who were married in early July. There’s photographic evidence on our Facebook page. Clearly, the nuptials left us all starry-eyed. (Unless it was the flash.)


Grant has had several speaking engagements lately, most recently at PechaKucha Night San Diego. Wondering what the Japanese term “pecha-kucha” means? It’s here:


Martha was in Rhode Island, where she was sorely tempted to order an Oreo Cookie “cabinet” just for the linguistic fun of it. On an upcoming show, she’ll share another wicked good regionalism she heard there.


This weekend Martha be indulging her taste for tennis and lending her dulcet (deuce-et?) tones as on-court announcer for the Mercury Insurance Open tournament. If you go, look for the word nerd with the microphone courtside, and do say “hello!” between matches.


Stay cool,

Martha and Grant

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