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Original Los Angeles

Los Angeles, though founded by Spanish speakers, was very, very Anglo by the early 20th century. The “original” pronunciation of Los Angeles has been muddied for a long time. This is part of a complete episode.

Eat the Grindstone

The books we love as children may influence our careers more than we realize. As a child, Martha was fascinated with stories of cracking codes, and Grant loved books with glossaries–not that far from the kind of work they do today. A caller...

Chameleon Effect of Language

A listener named Kio from Los Angeles says she spent some time in England, and while her colleagues there claimed that her valley girl slang was rubbing off on them, she herself picked up plenty of English slang. This is a classic linguistic...

Pickle Seeder

Would you rather live in a world with no adjectives … or no verbs — and why? Also, who in the world is that director Alan Smithee [SMITH-ee] who made decades’ of crummy films? Turns out that if a movie director has his work wrested away...

Directed by Alan Smithee

Ever seen a great film by the director Alan Smithee? Chances are the answer is no, since Alan Smithee is a pseudonym going back to 1968 that’s used by directors who’ve had their work wrestled from them and no longer want visible credit...

Rubber Match

What’s the antidote to living in a sound-bite world? How about unwinding with luxuriously expressive prose? Also, the cloak-and-dagger world of editing dictionary entries. Plus, what you might say instead of cursing, and oddball Scrabble words...

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