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Why is Q Followed by U?

Quinn from Excelsior, Minnesota, is five years old — well, five and three-quarters, as she points out. She wonders why the letter Q is so often followed by U. In Old English, the alphabet didn’t include the letter Q. The word quick, for...

Episode 1525

Niblings and Nieflings

How do actors bring Shakespeare’s lines to life so that modern audiences immediately understand the text? One way is to emphasize the names of people and places at certain points. That technique is called billboarding. And: Anyone for an...

Spelling the Letters of the Alphabet

James from Trabuco Canyon, California, learns that there’s a proper way to spell the letters of the alphabet. The letter J is spelled jay and H is spelled aitch. His own name would be spelled out as jay aye em ee ess. The letter Y is spelled...

Name-Letter Effect

Psychological research shows that when it comes to letters of the alphabet, people tend to like their own initials, perhaps because of a sense of ownership. This phenomenon is called the name-letter effect. This is part of a complete episode.

Sötnos

Sötnos, with an umlaut over that first o, is a Swedish term of endearment. Literally, it means “sweet nose.” This is part of a complete episode.