Home » identity

Tagidentity

Flop Sweat

Gerrymandering draws political boundaries to tip elections towards certain political parties. Originally, the word was pronounced “GARY-mandering” with a hard “g.” But why? And why did it change? • Mark Twain and Helen Keller...

Shibboleth

We’ve talked before about surprising local pronunciations of things like towns or streets. A term or pronunciation that distinguishes locals from outsiders is called a shibboleth. The word derives from the biblical story of the warring...

Coursers They Came

Sweet baby reindeer! It’s almost Christmas and we’ve got a lot of wrapping to do. Last weekend’s episode is live online and in iTunes. In it, we shared quotations about writing, talked about whether “ladies” is...

Foreign City Names in America

Why are some American place names pronounced differently than the famous place they were named after? Why is Cairo, Ill., pronounced “KAY-roh”? Why do Midwesterners pronounce Versailles as “Ver-SALES” and the New Madrid Fault...

Cooter Brown

Who is Cooter Brown? And just how high is he? His name appears in lots of phrases, including “high as Cooter Brown,” “drunk as Cooter Brown,” “dead as Cooter Brown,” “fast as Cooter Brown,” and...

Hip-Hop Book of Rhymes (minicast)

Hip-hop is high art. If you don’t understand that, you’re missing out on some of the best poetry being created today. Grant talks about the new book by English professor Adam Bradley called Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip-Hop.

Recent posts