If you say, “He stuck his spoon in the wall,” you mean that he died. In German, the person who’s deceased has passed along his spoon, and in Afrikaans, he’s jabbed his spoon into the ceiling. These expressions reflect the idea that eating is an essential part of life. An article in the British Medical Journal has a long list of euphemisms for dying, from the French avaler son extrait de naissance, “to swallow one’s birth certificate,” to the Portuguese phrase vestir pijama de madeira, “to wear wooden pajamas.” This is part of a complete episode.
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- 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]