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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...

Every Home Should Have a Spoon Sharpener

After our earlier conversation with Amanda in Evansville, Indiana, whose family refers to their garbage disposal as George, a listener shares his own family’s term for this device: the spoon sharpener. This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1567

Kiss the Cow

An anadrome is a word that forms a whole new word when you spell it backwards. For example, the word “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts.” Some people’s first names are anadromes. There’s the girl named Noel...

Episode 1566

No Cap, No Lie

We take our voices for granted, but it’s truly miraculous that we communicate complex thoughts simply by moving our mouths while exhaling. A fascinating new book reveals the science, history, and linguistics involved in human speech. And...

Bringing Back Your Accent from Home

A Virginian who moved to Illinois is feeling nostalgic about her old Tidewater accent. What are some tips to help you regain the accent you grew up with? Some strategies for reclaiming one’s accent: Go back home for a visit, and save some...

Episode 1565

Lead On, Macduff!

For rock climbers, skiers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, the word send has taken on a whole new meaning. You might cheer on a fellow snowboarder with Send it, bro! — and being sendy is a really great thing. Plus: a nostalgic trip to Willa...