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Is a Whistle Really all That Clean?

Fourteen-year-old Harry from Charlotte, Vermont, asks why we say something is clean as a whistle. Clean as a whistle refers not to a physical whistle, but to the purity of the sibilant sound. This is part of a complete episode.

Two-Word A Puzzle

All the answers to this puzzle from Quiz Guy John Chaneski are two-word phrases, and the only vowel they contain is the letter A. For example, suppose John is lounging in a shaded spot where only one variety of fruit is allowed. Where is he? This is...

Pronouncing “Leicester”

Sean in Asheville, North Carolina, wonders how to pronounce the nearby town of Leicester. Say it the way the locals do. It’s part of a family of British place names affected by vowel reduction and haplology, the omission of a sound or syllable...

Help Pronounced as “Hope”

Joe in Huntsville, Alabama, says an elderly friend consistently says hope to mean help. For more than a century, some speakers in parts of the Southern United States to drop the L sound before another consonant in words, which then affects the...