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Who Is She From Home?

Who is she from home? meaning “What’s her maiden name?” is a construction common in communities with significant Polish heritage. It’s what linguists call a calque — a word or phrase from another language translated literally...

Antonio Machado Poem

The early 20th-century Spanish poet Antonio Machado has a beautiful poem about finding one’s way. The translation in this segment is by Anna Rosenwong and María José Giménez. This is part of a complete episode.

Japanese Professional Farewell

A Jackson, Mississippi, woman who used to work in Japan says that each day as she left the office, her colleagues would say Otsukaresama desu, which means something along the lines of “Thank you for your hard work.” Although its literal...

Cultural Idiom Variations

The idiom “two heads are better than one” doesn’t exist in quite the same form in Spanish, but there is a variation that translates to, “four eyes are better than two.” In Hungarian, there’s a phrase that’s...

Eat the Grindstone

The books we love as children may influence our careers more than we realize. As a child, Martha was fascinated with stories of cracking codes, and Grant loved books with glossaries–not that far from the kind of work they do today. A caller...

Heal Before You’re Married

We spoke on a recent show about the joking consolation parents offer to a crying child, “It’ll be better before you’re married.” A podcast listener in Siberia emailed to say that in Russian, a similar saying translates to...

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