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Episode 1546

Singing Sand

Cat hair may be something you brush off, but cat hair is also a slang term that means “money.” In the same way, cat beer isn’t alcoholic — some people use cat beer as a joking term for “milk.” And imagine walking on a...

Language in Petersburg, Alaska

When Therese moved from New England to Petersburg, Alaska, she heard a rich mixture of language that arose from the Tlingit people who live there part of the year, the Norwegians who immigrated there, and a thriving fishing industry. So you might...

Hawaiian “Bumbye”

Joseph in San Diego, California, says that during high school he lived in Hawaii, where he picked up the word bumbye which means sooner or later or eventually. It’s probably a version of by and by. For a closer look at the language of Hawaii...

Episode 1373

Ride the Merry-Go-Round

A pint-sized mad scientist, a green-haired girl with a contagious sense of wonder, and a 10-year-old detective. They’re all characters in the books on Grant’s latest list of recommended books for children. Also, what’s the word for...

shakabatt

shakabatt  n.— «There is no more shakabatt [pidgin English for fighting], no more chopping people, because of the street lights.» —“As street lights return to Liberia, so does hope” by Prue Clarke in Monrovia...

sing-sing

sing-sing  n.— «Women and children also dressed in traditional finery danced and sang at the event, known in PNG pidgin as a “sing-sing.”» —“PNG tribes put on a show of colours” by Lloyd Jones in Goroka...