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Saying Pee Ay for Pennsylvania

Why do so many people in the Keystone State refer to it with the letters P-A rather than sounding out all the syllables in Pennsylvania? Especially when they say a city in that state and then Pee Ay? This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1533

Life of Riley

Unwrap the name of a candy bar, and you just might find a story inside. For instance, one chewy treat found in many a checkout lane is named after a family’s beloved horse. And: 50 years ago in the United States, some Latino elementary...

Episode 1530

Mrs. Astor’s Horse

“What has a head like a cat, feet like a cat, a tail like a cat, but isn’t a cat?” Answer: a kitten! A 1948 children’s joke book has lots of these to share with kids. Plus: an easy explanation for the difference between...

Forward Pronunciation

Alex in Amarillo, Texas, says he often hears speakers dropping the sound of the first r in the word forward, sounding like foward or fuhward. It’s what linguists call dissimilation, where, when duplicate consonants are not far apart in a...

Episode 1515

Colonial English

The anatomy of effective prose, and the poetry of anatomy. Ever wonder what it’d be like to audit a class taught by a famous writer? A graduate student’s essay offers a taste of a semester studying with author Annie Dillard. Also, what...