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“How Are You?” is Sometimes More Than a Question

A native Dutch speaker who spent many years in Japan says he had to learn the hard way that when Americans greeted him with How are you?, they didn’t really want to know how he was. Such casual greetings that don’t require a factual or...

Beside Myself (episode #1535)

The new Downton Abbey movie is a luscious treat for fans of the public-television period piece, but how accurate is the script when it comes to the vocabulary of the early 20th century? It may be jarring to hear the word swag, but it was already at...

Talking As Equals in the Workplace

Matt, a new college grad in Austin, Texas, wants guidance about what kinds of things are appropriate to share during conversations in the workplace. Sociolinguist Janet Holmes has extensively researched and written about this topic, including in...

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