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Apricity

What does it say about our driving that Americans have so many expressions that mean “to roll past a stop sign without stopping”? California stop, California roll, Michigan roll, and many more. We discuss them in our latest new episode...

Cathead Biscuits

Ever eaten golden catheads for breakfast? Yum! A listener shares this Southern term for big, fluffy biscuits. Also, how did people greet each other before “hello” became a standard greeting of choice? What does it mean if someone’s...

One Space or Two?

Is typing two spaces after a period “totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong?” Also, is the language of the movie True Grit historically accurate? Also, shut your pie-hole, Southern grammar, oh my Lady Gaga, and a little town...

Eastern Seaboard, West Coast

Shadowdabbled. Moon-blanched. Augusttremulous. William Faulkner often used odd adjectives like these. But why? Grant and Martha discuss the poetic effects of compressed language. Also, African-American proverbs, classic children’s books, pore...

Tweet Nothings

How much humor and personality can you pack into a 140-character update? A lot, it turns out. Martha and Grant talk about funny Twitter feeds. Also this week, the origins of skosh and “can’t hold a candle,” why dragonflies are...

Word Birth

The question of how children acquire language has long intrigued parents and scholars. MIT cognitive scientist Deb Roy recently found a novel way to study what he calls “word birth.” He wired his home with cameras and microphones, and...

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