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Episode 1553

Play It by Ear

How does social context shape our perception of language? When hiking the Appalachian Trail, a young woman from Wyoming found that fellow hikers assumed she was from another country, not only because of how she spoke, but also how she looked...

Episode 1538

Little Shavers

The word hipster might seem recent, but it actually originated in the 1930s when it referred to jazz aficionados who were in the know about the best nightclubs and cool music. Speaking of music, a professional musician reports that it’s...

Auctioneer Lingo

A professional auctioneer shares some techniques for creating his mesmerizing, melodious patter. He explains that auctioneers are known as colonels, because colonels in the civil war were assigned with auctioning off captured property. And he warns...

Jabronie, Jaboney, Jambone

Who you calling a jabronie? And what exactly is a jabronie? (Or a jaboney, jadroney, jambone, jiboney, gibroni, gibroney, gabroney, jobroni, jobrone, etc.) Grant traces this playful insult, meaning a “rube” or “loser,” to the...

Who’s The Decider

When it comes to language, a listener from Dallas wants to know, as a fellow Texan might put it, “who’s the decider”? Grant explains that nobody makes the rules about language, and everybody does. For those seeking professional...