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Pig Latin

Grant and Martha discuss the L-word — or two L-words, actually: liberal and libertarian. They reflect different political philosophies, so why do they look so similar? Also, is the term expat racist? A journalist argues that the word expat carries a...

Tuckered Out

To be tuckered out, or tired, is thought to derive from the image of a starved quadruped that’s so skinny and worn out that it has a “tucked” appearance just behind the ribs. It may have been influenced by an older verb tuck...

Charismatic Megafauna

Choosing language that helps resolve interpersonal conflict. Sometimes a question is really just a veiled form of criticism and understanding the difference between “ask culture” and “guess culture” can help you know how to...

Cultural Idiom Variations

The idiom “two heads are better than one” doesn’t exist in quite the same form in Spanish, but there is a variation that translates to, “four eyes are better than two.” In Hungarian, there’s a phrase that’s...

South End of a Chicken

Are your nightstand books all over the place? Why not stack ’em into a bookmash? A bookmash is a kind of found poetry formed from book titles! And we all know that honesty is the best policy. But does that mean you should correct the grammar of your...

Placeholder “It”

A Quebec listener asks: In the phrases it’s a girl, or it’s raining, what exactly is the it here? It’s called the weather it or the dummy it, and it serves a placeholder inserted to make the sentence function grammatically. This is...

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