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The Coffee “Is All”

Kathy in Rye, New York, used to live in Central Pennsylvania, where she was surprised by a friend announcing The coffee’s all meaning “The coffee’s all gone.” This phrase is a vestige of Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of...

To Know From Something

The phrase he doesn’t know from (something), meaning “he doesn’t know about (something),” is a word-for-word borrowing, or calque, of a Yiddish phrase “Er veys nit fun.” This is part of a complete episode.

Too Yet

A woman who grew up in south central Minnesota grew up using the phrase too yet, which can have various meanings at the end of a sentence, usually with some negative sense. An article by Peter Veltman in American Speech suggests that the tag too yet...

Who Is She From Home?

Who is she from home? meaning “What’s her maiden name?” is a construction common in communities with significant Polish heritage. It’s what linguists call a calque — a word or phrase from another language translated literally...