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Mobile-Phoney

A mobile-phoney, as defined by the Irish rail system’s new ad campaign, is someone on a train who pretends to be having a phone conversation in order to prevent fellow passengers from taking the seat next to them. This is part of a complete...

Whistle Britches

Writers and where they do their best creative work. A new book on Geoffrey Chaucer describes the dark, cramped, smelly room where he wrote his early work. Which raises the question: What kind of space do you need to produce your best writing...

Whistling Dixie

Today’s most popular dog names are Max and Bella. In the Middle Ages, though, dogs would answer to names like Amiable. Or Nosewise. Or even … Clench. ? Is the term redneck derogatory? Some folks proudly claim that name. They say...

Make A Train Take A Dirt Road

Remember the classic films Dogumentary and $3000? Those were their working titles, before they became Best In Show and Pretty Woman. We look at how movie titles evolve and change. Also, is Spanglish a real language? And balaclavas, teaching your...

Episode 1387

How America Talks

For language lovers, it’s like New Year’s, Fourth of July, and the Super Bowl all rolled into one: The brand-new online edition of the Dictionary of American Regional English. Martha and Grant explain what all the fuss is about. Plus...

Train Crummy

Train conductors sometimes refer to the caboose as the crummy. The name may derive from the idea of crew workers leaving crumbs and other garbage all over the back of that last car. Gandy dancers are railroad maintenance workers whose synchronized...

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