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Jockey Box, Glove Compartment

Barbara from Seattle, Washington, was surprised to hear a friend from Montana use the term jockey box to mean “glove compartment.” Heard in much of the Northwestern United States, jockey box is a relic of the days when the drivers of...

How We Finish Conversations

A customer-service representative from Seattle, Washington, is curious about the phrases people use as a part of leave-taking when they’re finishing a telephone conversation. Linguists who conduct discourse analysis on such conversations say...

Where The Wild Thongs Are

Howdy! In our latest episode, we discuss why “he’s seen the elephant” means “he’s been in combat.” Also, a look at idioms, like the Spanish one that translates as “your bowtie is whistling.” And what...

Pardon Our French

South African English is a rich mix of Afrikaans, English, and indigenous languages such as Zulu and Xhosa. Martha and Grant discuss some favorite terms from that part of the world, including lekker, diski, and ubuntu. Also, where’d we get the...