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Episode 1612

Fair Dinkum

A magnificent new book celebrates the richness and diversity of 450 years of written and spoken English in what is now the United States. It’s called The People’s Tongue, and it’s a sumptuous collection of essays, letters, poems...

Oosh! It’s Cold!

Bob from Mount Airy, North Carolina, says that while growing up in Michigan, he and others said Brr! in cold weather. But where he lives now, he often hears people exclaim Oosh! As noted in Gratitude for Shoes: Growing up Poor in the Smokies...

Episode 1610

Big Dog

If you’re ever near a sundial, step closer and look for a message. Many sundials bear haunting, poetic inscriptions about the brevity of life. Plus, language development in toddlers: why and how little ones pick up the exclamation Uh-oh! And a...

Chamber of Commerce Weather

When weather forecasters predict a Chamber of Commerce day, they anticipate sunny, pleasant weather that’s postcard-perfect, and a great advertisement for life in that location. This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1591

Pushing the Envelope

Sure, there’s winter, spring, summer, and fall. But the seasons in between have even more poetic names. In Alaska, greenup describes a sudden, dramatic burst of green after a long, dark winter. And there are many, many terms for a cold snap...

Episode 1602

Touch Grass

High school students in Alabama share some favorite slang terms. If someone tells you to touch grass, they’re telling you to get a reality check — but the last thing you’d actually want to touch is dog water! Also, the history of the...