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Snaggletooth (episode #1560)

Many of us struggled with the Old English poem “Beowulf” in high school. But what if you could actually hear “Beowulf” in the English of today? There’s a new translation by Maria Dahvana Headley that uses contemporary...

Psammakosioi

From ancient Greece comes this example of an indefinite hyperbolic numeral such as umpteen, zillion, and fifty-eleven: psammakosioi. Aristophanes coined this term, which was picked up by other ancient writers, and literally means “sand...

Low Sick

A Dallas-area police officer is curious about low sick, a term which he and his fellow officers use to describe someone dangerously ill. Sometimes rendered as low sig, the expression is largely associated with the speech of African Americans, and...

Picoult Writing Advice

Novelist Jodi Picoult has some no-nonsense advice for writers who just can’t seem to get started. This is part of a complete episode.

A Trade-Last Expects a Compliment in Return

Debbie from Memphis, Tennessee, grew up in Arkansas, where she learned the term trade-last, which refers to “a quoted compliment offered in return for the recipient first offering one to the speaker.” Although those from the American...

Leaving Your Creative Fields Fallow

In an essay in LitHub, Kate Angus urges writers to be kind to themselves when they have a creative block. Sometimes you can get past it simply by letting yourself not write at all, with the hope that lying fallow for a while may be just what you...

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