Youngsters want to know: What’s the difference between barely and nearly, and what’s so clean about a whistle, anyway? Plus, adults recount some misunderstandings from when they were knee-high to a grasshopper. Kids do come up with some surprisingly creative interpretations of words and phrases the rest of us take for granted!
This episode first aired August 26, 2021.
Kadee, a Texas sixth-grader, wonders about how to pronounce the word caramel. There are at least seven different ways to pronounce the name of this gooey treat, including some with two and three syllables.
A high-schooler in Indianapolis, Indiana, wonders why the word number is abbreviated as no., given that there’s no letter O in the word. The answer lies in the Latin word numero, which is the ablative form of the Latin word for number, numerus. The word ounce comes from the Latin unit of measurement uncia, which found its way into Medieval Italian as onza, the source of our own abbreviation for ounce, or oz.
Tommy in Lexington, Kentucky, recalls that when he was a youngster, a sightseeing trip to Washington, D.C., led to a hilarious misunderstanding about exactly what might be on offer at the National Mall.
A listener shares his youthful experience of misunderstanding the rules of baseball and what it means to run home, and Martha confesses to a similar goof as a junior-high-school-age basketball player.