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The Five-Minute Linguist

The 5-Minute Linguist is a book of short, accessible essays by linguists who answer the  questions they commonly hear from laypersons. For example, what’s the difference between a language and a dialect? What causes someone to have a...

Traffic Neckdown

Like Bott’s dots and cat’s eyes, the word neckdown comes from the language of traffic flow regulation. A neckdown is an extension of a curb that widens the path for pedestrians and slows moving vehicles. Also called curb extensions, bulb...

Walkie Talkie (episode #1541)

One of the most powerful words you’ll ever hear — and one of the most poignant — isn’t in dictionaries yet. But it probably will be one day. The word is endling, and it means “the last surviving member of a species.” The...

Tiger Tail (episode #1540)

You may have a favorite word in English, but what about your favorite in another language? The Spanish term ojalá is especially handy for expressing hopefulness and derives from Arabic for “God willing.” In Trinidad, if you want to ask...

Yipka

Terese from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, wants to popularize the word yipka, a term a friend uses for “old clothes you wear around the house.” We’re pretty sure it’s not Yiddish. This is part of a complete episode.

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