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Episode 1609

Hot Gossip

Gossip goes by many names: the poop, the scoop, the lowdown, the dope, the scuttlebutt, the 411, the grapes, the gore, and hot tea. Plus, John Donne’s love poems are among the greatest in the English language, even as they’re famously...

Episode 1590

Primary Colors

Centuries ago, monks who took a vow of silence developed their own hand signs, with hundreds of gestures, that are still in use today. Plus, how do speakers of different languages distinguish similar shades and tints of colors such as red, yellow...

Naming Shades and Tints of Colors

How do we agree on how to name shades and tints of colors? A famous study in the 1960s, Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution (Bookshop|Amazon by Brent Berlin and Paul Kay found that if a language had only two color terms, they were...

Pet Dog Name Change

Martha shares another email about the evolution of a pet’s name, in this case a dog whose original name was Dumpster. Now the pooch is named after the 19th president of the United States. Sort of. This is part of a complete episode.