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Off the Turnip Truck (episode #1532)

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when people disagreed over the best word to use when answering the phone. Alexander Graham Bell suggested answering with ahoy! but Thomas Edison was partial to hello! A fascinating new book about...

Because Internet

The new book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language is a smart, engaging, introduction to language and linguistics in general. It’s also rich with insights about how we communicate online. With verve, wit, and nerdy delight...

Ahoy vs. Hello

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when people disagreed over the best word to use when answering the telephone. Alexander Graham Bell, for example, advocated answering with  Ahoy!, while Thomas Edison argued for Hello. As...

Helter-Skelter Reduplicatives

Jerrell in San Antonio, Texas, is curious about the term helter-skelter, meaning “haphazardly.” English is full of such reduplicatives, also called rhyming jingles, flip-flop words, or echo words. They fall into three categories: one...

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