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Episode 1592

You Talk Like a Sausage  

Do you refer to your dog or cat as “somebody”? As in: When you love somebody that much, you don’t mind if they slobber. In other words, is your pet a somebody or a something? Also, for centuries, there was little consistency in the...

Was English Spelling Ever Standardized?

Was English spelling standardized before the advent of the printing press? No, but there were some significant periods in history where spelling became a little more fixed. Among them are the replacing of the Runic alphabet with the Roman alphabet...

“This’ll” on a Spelling Test?

Jason from De Pere, Wisconsin, was surprised to see that among the spelling words his twin second-graders were studying was the contraction this’ll. Is a term like this’ll really appropriate for a second-grade spelling test? This is part...

Why Don’t We Pronounce the W in Two?

Shona in San Diego, California, is puzzling over why we don’t pronounce the w in the word two. The answer has to do with its etymological origins and the fact that spelling doesn’t change as quickly as pronunciation. This is part of a...