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Multiple Modals

Multiple modals, as in the phrase “I thought y’all may would have some more of them,” have their own logic and are well understood by many in the American South. The Database of Multiple Modals compiled by Paul Reed and Michael...

The Thought Plickens

If you’re inappropriately focused on the minutiae of a project instead of the bigger picture, you’re said to be bike-shedding. Grant talks about that modern slang term and Martha discusses a word that goes way back in time, right back to...

Yankee Dimes in a Culch Pile

Howdy! In this week’s episode of “A Way with Words,” we have a whole culch pile of conversation about Yankee dimes, hanging crepe, educational rubrics, and whether the language you speak influences how you think. Here ’tis:...

Childhood Language Misunderstandings

There’s a point when children understand just enough of their native language to be confused by homophones and metaphors. What misunderstandings do you remember? Maybe you thought cat burglars stole only cats, or that you might be swept out to...

Words That Will Color Your World

Happy September! In this week’s archive episode, “Sailor’s Delight,” we talk about weather proverbs, pooflapoo pie, tricks for remembering how to spell difficult words, and alternatives to the word “mentee.” We...