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Episode 1586

Mittens in Moonlight

Need a slang term that can replace just about any noun? Try chumpie. If you’re from Philadelphia, you may already know this handy placeholder word. And there’s Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, and … The Bronx — why do we add...

Episode 1599

What in Tarnation

Language is always evolving, and that’s also true for American Sign Language. A century ago, the sign for “telephone” was one fist below your mouth and the other at your ear, as if you’re holding an old-fashioned candlestick...

Variations in American Sign Language

If you need further proof that language is always changing, look no further than American Sign Language or ASL. A hundred years ago, the sign for telephone reflected the shape of an old-fashioned candlestick phone — one fist below your mouth and the...

Jubous, Jubious

Alan, who grew up in eastern North Carolina, says his mother used the word jubous to mean “leery” or “skeptical.” Variously spelled jubous, jubus, dubous, dubus, or some similar version, jubous is simply an adaptation of the...

Taking a Dump on the Ice

JJ spent much of his life in Rhode Island but now lives in Racine, Wisconsin, which has led to some hilarious misunderstandings involving the different dialects of those regions. For one thing, his neighbors in the Midwest made certain assumptions...