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Episode 1600

Go Bananas

A caller wonders if she’s being hypersensitive about the way her boss addresses her in emails. Can the use of an employee’s first name ever reflect a power differential? And: a community choir director wants a term for “the act of...

Lesser Greek Gods

Listeners continue to invent names of Greek gods by pronouncing familiar words with the accent on the wrong syllable. There’s Mediocrities, god of “things that are just pretty much okay”; Lotteries, “the god of random...

Bringing Back Your Accent from Home

A Virginian who moved to Illinois is feeling nostalgic about her old Tidewater accent. What are some tips to help you regain the accent you grew up with? Some strategies for reclaiming one’s accent: Go back home for a visit, and save some...

How Do You Pronounce “Biopic”?

Kate from Arlington, Massachusetts, and her boyfriend disagree about how to pronounce biopic. The confusion arises in part because the -opic at the end looks like the ends of words like myopic and microscopic. It’s actually a shortening of the...

Episode 1553

Play It by Ear

How does social context shape our perception of language? When hiking the Appalachian Trail, a young woman from Wyoming found that fellow hikers assumed she was from another country, not only because of how she spoke, but also how she looked...