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Episode 1612

Fair Dinkum

A magnificent new book celebrates the richness and diversity of 450 years of written and spoken English in what is now the United States. It’s called The People’s Tongue, and it’s a sumptuous collection of essays, letters, poems...

Vouching for Your Good Name

If you vouch for something, you guarantee that what you’re saying is true. In the early 14th century, vouch was a transitive verb that meant “to summon into court to prove a title.” Vouch was adapted into English from an Old French...

Episode 1610

Big Dog

If you’re ever near a sundial, step closer and look for a message. Many sundials bear haunting, poetic inscriptions about the brevity of life. Plus, language development in toddlers: why and how little ones pick up the exclamation Uh-oh! And a...

Feelin’ Right Peert Today

Michael in Aurora, Kentucky, wonders about the word peert, meaning “in good health” or “chipper,” as in Yesterday I felt kindly puny, but today I feel right peert. Heard primarily in the American South, peert, also spelled...

Episode 1582

Salad Days

A documentary film called My Beautiful Stutter follows youngsters at a summer camp specifically for stutterers. It’s a place for finding acceptance, support, and confidence for navigating the larger world. And:, “The High Priestess of...

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