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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 1548

Yak Shaving

There was a time when William Shakespeare was just another little seven-year-old in school. Classes in his day were demanding — and all in Latin. A new book argues that this rigorous curriculum actually nurtured the creativity that later flourished...

Go Sit on a Tack!

Tricia in Chesapeake, Virginia, says if her father was annoyed with her mother, he used to jokingly tell her: Go sit on a tack! It’s another way of saying “Leave me alone!” Similar phrases include go fly a kite, go climb a tree, go...

Episode 1543

Goody Two-Shoes

She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is the she in this tongue twister? Some claim it’s the young Mary Anning, who went on to become a famous 19th-century British paleontologist. Dubious perhaps, but the story of her rise from seaside...

More About Epitaphs

In response to our conversation about language chosen for a tombstone, listeners share proposed epitaphs for themselves and others. If you just can’t get enough of epitaphs, you can browse lots of back issues of the scholarly journal Markers...