There are many things in life worth keeping unsullied or unsoiled. From our good name to our best dress shirt, it's preferable to keep things safe from both literal and figurative sullying or soiling. It would seem that "sully" and "soil" have a lot in common. So much so that a listener recently asked if they're related.
When you bring two people from opposite ends of the same career path together, chances are they’ll have plenty to talk about. Stateside's ongoing Work in Progress series aims to do just that by featuring conversations between someone just starting out in a particular field and someone who is reaching the end of their professional career. Leonard Slatkin is Music Director Laureate of the Detroit Symphony, and conductor Chelsea Gallo is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University...
At this point and time, it's pretty clear that the words "awful" and "awesome" aren't interchangeable. But why do their prefixes sound identical? Our listener Kalen asks: “Why is ‘awesome’ a positive word and ‘awful’ a negative word?” This is a great example of how two words can start in the same place and end up with quite different meanings.
“One of the most popular drinks that I teach in my classes is hot buttered rum,” said Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings as she was putting the kettle on to boil. However, we are not making hot buttered rum. “I am a sucker for clever wordplay, so when I came across a recipe for hot butternut rum, I had to make it,” Tammy said.
Amidst some emails, Professor Anne Curzan recently came across a question from a colleague about "amongst" and "whilst." The colleague wanted to know: "Why did American idiom preserve 'amongst' but drop whilst?" Fair question, though we're not so sure that American idiom has preserved "amongst."
Mike Cameron and Michael Konas are the co-founders and creative forces behind Dog Might Games. If you visit their woodshop, you’ll first be greeted by a dog. He’s a rescue. Dog Might Games says it doesn’t have customers; it has fans. The fans named the dog “Sawdust.”
Joni Mitchell is one of the most influential singer-songwriters in music history. But earning that title was no simple feat. Susan Whitall , former writer and editor for the magazine Creem , has edited a new book about Mitchell's life and career called Joni on Joni: Interviews and Encounters with Joni Mitchell. The book is an anthology of interviews with Mitchell that took place between 1966 and 2014.
A listener named Allen recently wrote to us about a confusing book review. He was reading the Toledo Blade, when he saw a review of Barbara Kingsolver's new novel "Unsheltered." Under a picture of Kingsolver was the caption "Barbara Kingsolver, one of America's hardiest novelists, stumbled on the lost history of [Mary] Treat." Allen says he immediately assumed the reviewer was not impressed with Kingsolver's book.
A person who owns and manages a restaurant is called a restaurateur. Notice anything strange about that word -- especially when compared to "restaurant"? If you're wondering why there's no "n" after the second "a" in "restaurateur," you're not alone. A listener recently asked us, why "restaurant" has an "n" but "restaurateur" does not.
This week on That's What They Say, we turn to A.A. Milne's classic children's novel, The House at Pooh Corner . We love this line from a passage in which Piglet has to squeeze himself through a letter box in order to get out of Owl's house: "Piglet squeezed and he squoze, and with one last squoze, he was out." Maybe it's just us, but we think "squoze" is a pretty great non-standard verb.
November 11th is Veterans Day. The national holiday was formerly known as Armistice Day, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the very bloody stalemate of World War I. But for one group of American soldiers — known as the Michigan Polar Bears — the fighting did not cease.
Bill Harris has been a central figure in the cultural life of Detroit for a long time. The Kresge Foundation gave him their prestigious Eminent Artist Award several years ago, and his plays have been produced around the country. He has also published poetry and innovative interpretations of African-American history that defy any easy categories. I Got to Keep Moving is a collection of 25 short stories, but they are all so closely linked that the book begins to feel like a novel. There are...
Actor and comedian Marc Evan Jackson has appeared on Parks and Recreation , Reno 911! , and Brooklyn Nine-Nine . He currently stars as an all-knowing immortal judge named Shawn on NBC’s The Good Place , which he describes as “the smartest, dumbest show on television.” “Within an episode of the show, within the body of the show, within single lines of dialogue, this show deals with fairly deep and complicated aspects of ethical and moral philosophy, and also fart jokes,” Jackson said....
Today on Stateside , a voting rights expert with the ACLU shares what Michiganders should know ahead of tomorrow’s midterm election. Plus, a conversation with actor and comedian Marc Evan Jackson who plays Shawn, an all-knowing immortal judge, on NBC’s The Good Place. Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.
Once you start thinking about words that merit spelling reform, it can be hard to stop. Each year, Professor Anne Curzan asks students in her introductory linguistics classes to decide on one word that should be reformed in terms of spelling. The students have tournaments and eliminate words until they're left with a winner.
The Cheers! cocktail this week comes with lots of flavor, but none of it from the alcohol in the drink. “For me, cocktails are all about the interplay of flavor,” said Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings. Vodka brings nothing to the glass as far as flavor is concerned. It’s odorless, flavorless, and colorless. “It's meant to be very neutral and very smooth,” Tammy noted. There’s an advantage if you have a drink that already has great flavors: vodka doesn’t interrupt the ingredients as they play...
The leaves are falling. The pumpkins are on the steps. It's the perfect time of year for a good ghost story! From now until Halloween, Stateside is bringing you creepy, spooky stories of hauntings from across the state. So grab some candy, cozy up under a blanket, and take a listen.
When baby sitters first started baby-sitting, we had no way to talk about what they were doing. That's because at first, all we had was a noun – there was no verb to speak of. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the noun "baby sitter" was first recorded in 1937. The verb "baby-sit" didn’t come along until 1946. Linguists call this a back-formation.