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Origin of the Term Byzantine

A physician heard a broadcaster use the term byzantine to describe the current health care system, and wonders about the origin of this adjective. Martha notes that the Byzantine Empire, which began in the 4th century A.D., was notable for its...

Origin of Nosy

Are we a nosy species? A listener married to a woman from Bangladesh explains how a Bengali term that translates as “nose-going” reflects the naturally inquisitive style of Bangladeshi culture. In many languages, the nose figures...

English Derivatives of Tagalog

It’s likely America’s greatest linguistic export: O.K. A caller raised in the Philippines is curious about its origin. The hosts give him an answer, and also point out a familiar word in English that derives from the caller’s...

shoe-icide attack

shoe-icide attack
 n.— «Shoe-icide Attack…Bush ducks as Iraqi flings size 10s at head.» —Daily News Dec. 15, 2008. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

Speaking English with a Foreign Accent

Do English-speaking foreigners understand you better if you speak English with a foreign accent? A Californian says that on a recent visit to Armenia, he discovered the locals had an easier time if he spoke English with an Armenian accent. Is this...