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Episode 1537

Bug in Your Ear

Is there something inherent in English that makes it the linguistic equivalent of the Borg, dominating and consuming other languages in its path? No, not at all. The answer lies with politics and conquest rather than language itself. Plus: a new...

Episode 1620

Alligator Mouth

Kinbank is a new database that illustrates the global diversity of family terms. English, for example, specifies sibling relationships with just one of two terms: sister or brother. But most other languages have even more specific terms. In...

Get the Goody Out

Amelia in Arlington, Virginia, was surprised to hear her wife, who is from Iowa, use the phrase getting the goody out to describe someone sporting a well-worn pair of sweatpants, indicating that they were continuing to get the most out of that...

Wet Dress Rehearsal

A wet dress rehearsal is a run-through of all the processes required before a rocket launch, up until, but not including, liftoff. What makes this simulation wet is that the rocket’s fuel tanks are filled, then drained once the countdown clock...