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Episode 1534

Skookum

So you’ve long dreamed of writing fiction, but don’t know where to begin? There are lots of ways to get started — creative writing classes, local writing groups, and books with prompts to get you going. The key is to get started, and...

Rare False Friends

You might assume that the Welsh word plant means the same thing it does in English, but this word is a linguistic false friend. The Welsh word plentyn means “child,” and the word plant means “children.” Some false friends are...

False Friends

Beware of linguistic false friends, also known as false cognates. You wouldn’t want to say you’re feeling embarazada in Spanish, unless you want to say you’re pregnant. And don’t order the tuna in Spain unless you want to...

Spendthrift Snollygosters

This week, it’s the language of politics. Martha and Grant discuss two handy terms describing politicians: far center and snollygoster. Also, a presidential word puzzle, false friends, spendthrifts, and a long list of 17th-century insults. So...

Norwegian Tann Paste

In an earlier episode, we discussed linguistic false friends, those words in foreign languages that look like familiar English words, but mean something quite different. Martha reads an email response from a listener who learned the hard way that in...

Detergent False Friend

Martha shares listener email about linguistic “false friends,” those perplexing words in other languages that look like English words, but mean something completely different. A case in point is the detergent popular in the Middle East...