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Nebby

The phrase to be nebby is heard particularly in Western Pennsylvania, and means to be “picky” or “gossipy.” Originally, it meant “nosy” or “snooping.” Nebby is a vestige of Scots-Irish, where the word...

A Few Quick Book Reviews

Although I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like, here are a few books I have recently read and enjoyed. Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books by Aaron Lansky of the Yiddish Book...

Scots-Irish “Whenever”

Some speakers of American English use the word whenever to refer to a single event, as in “whenever Abraham Lincoln died.” This locution is a vestige of Scots-Irish speech. This is part of a complete episode.

Non-Native Speaker Idioms

When speakers of foreign languages try to adapt their own idioms into English, the results can be poetic, if not downright puzzling. A Dallas listener shares some favorite examples from his Italian-born wife, including “I can put my hand to...