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Billboarding

Actors use the term billboarding to denote the technique of giving extra emphasis to a word or phrase. That’s just one of the many bits of inside information from Thinking Shakespeare by Barry Edelstein, artistic director at San Diego’s...

“Beat the Band” Meaning and Origin

Whitney from Memphis, Tennessee, is curious about the origin of the phrase to beat the band, which describes something happening in forceful or energetic way. Although the origins of this Americanism are murky, it may refer to a time when every...

Unexpected Place Name Pronunciations

When it comes to the names of towns and cities, the locals don’t necessarily pronounce them the way you expect. Charlotte, Vermont, for example, is pronounced with emphasis on the second syllable, not the first — and therein lies a history...

“Frequent” and Other Heteronyms

Frequent the adjective and frequent the verb can be pronounced differently, with the verb getting an emphasis on the second syllable. Wikipedia has a great list of these heteronyms, where two words are spelled the same but pronounced differently...

P/U Dialect

The P/U dialect, common in the South, is marked by distinct emphasis on the first syllable of words such as police and umbrella. This is part of a complete episode.