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Episode 1503

Piping Hot

The game of baseball has alway inspired colorful commentary. Sometimes that means using familiar words in unfamiliar ways. The word stuff, for example, can refer to a pitcher’s repertoire, to the spin on a ball, or what happens to the ball...

Episode 1615

Takes the Cake

What do you call a long sandwich filled with lots of ingredients? Whether you call it a sub, a hoagie, a grinder, or something else entirely depends on where you’re from. And: Martha’s visit to an Alaskan reindeer ranch reveals why you...

It’s Raining Reindeer Lingo

Martha recently spoke at a fundraiser for radio station KUAC in Alaska. While there in Fairbanks, she explored the University of Alaska’s magnificent Museum of the North, and paid a visit to Running Reindeer Ranch, where she learned a lot...

Episode 1584

Sleepy Winks

It was a dark and stormy night. So begins the long and increasingly convoluted prose of Edwards Bulwer-Lytton’s best-known novel. Today the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest asks contestants for fanciful first sentences that are similarly...

Episode 1599

What in Tarnation

Language is always evolving, and that’s also true for American Sign Language. A century ago, the sign for “telephone” was one fist below your mouth and the other at your ear, as if you’re holding an old-fashioned candlestick...

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