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Pronouncing Innovative

A university professor in Baltimore, Maryland, catches himself pronouncing the very same word in different ways depending on the context in which he’s speaking. For him, it occurs with the word innovative, which U.S. and U.K. speakers...

Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English

The splendid new Dictionary of Southern Appalachian English (Bookshop|Amazon), edited by Michael Montgomery and Jennifer Heinmiller, is a greatly expanded version of the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English (Amazon), edited by Montgomery and Joseph...

Gaffle, Meaning “to Snag” or “to Grab”

Camden from Juneau, Alaska, uses the term gaffle to mean “snag,” as in to gaffle a Coke from the fridge. In his 1872 work A Dictionary of Etymology (Bookshop|Amazon), philologist Hensleigh Wedgwood notes that in a variety of languages...

Pronunciation of “Oil”

Emma in Texas has a dispute with her dad over the pronunciation of the word oil. The Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States records no fewer than eight different pronunciations of this word. This is part of a complete episode.

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