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Episode 1499

Truth and Beauty

Malamute, kayak, and parka are just some of the words that have found their way into English from the language of indigenous people in northern climes. • In the 1970s, some scientists argued that two quarks should be called truth and beauty. • The...

Episode 1498

Dessert Stomach

Funny cat videos and cute online photos inspire equally adorable slang terms we use to talk about them. • Also, when a salamander is not a salamander, the story of an Italian term for a dish towel used halfway across the world, Bozo buttons...

Episode 1613

Blessing Box

Is there such a thing as a “neutral” accent, and if so what does it sound like? And that quirk in the way southern Californians talk about freeways. They’ll say things like take the 405 and get on the 8. Why the definite article...

Take-Off Quiz with John Chaneski

Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a take-off puzzle this week, offering clues to rhyming two-word phrases made by removing the letter D from the beginning of one of them. For example, if your sound equipment was damaged in a flood, what are you left with...

Episode 1495

Cool Your Soup

According to Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, it’s important to master the basics of writing, but there comes a time when you have to strike out on your own and teach yourself. Also: Spanish idioms involving food, a conversation about the...

Episode 1596

Excuse the Hogs

When a teenager went a week without talking as part of a school project, he noticed a surprising side effect: Instead of rehearsing a response to what other people were saying to him, he was focused on listening — and feeling smarter as a result...

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