The Word Nerds: A Weekly Podcast About Words, Language, and Why We Say the Things We Do

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October 2005
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copyright © 2005, 2006 by Dave Shepherd, Howard Shepherd, and Howard Chang

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Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd are two exhausted teachers--and they talk about words used to talk about weariness (2:12)

Song: 'Carry Me Home,' by Virginia (16:10)

Rude word of the week: 'dragging your ass' (19:26)

Song: 'Weary Rag,' by Earl Oliver, the Walkin' Blues Man (23:03)

More words about weariness (We've just run out of gas...) (26:11)

Music courtesy of GarageBand.com

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 30:17
size: 13.9 Mb

rating: PG (Our rude word is ruder than a child should utter, but otherwise we're too tired to be very nasty.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-10-29.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd discuss some of their favorite eponymic expressions--common words taken from proper nouns (1:46)

Song: 'Cellophane,' by Sattelite Hearts (13:56)

Rude word of the week: 'chauvinist' (18:35)

Song: 'Aphrodite's Child,' by Juliet Kelly (21:36)

Eponyms from myth and literature (25:58)

Thanks to emailers and voice-mailers. Ferg from the podcast Air Ferg scooped us on 'playing the dozens.' Chad from Mt. Airy, NC, gives us a couple of North Carolina-isms we left out. (30:55)

Music courtesy of GarageBand.com

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 35:03
size: 16.2 Mb

rating: PG (Discussion of the attitudes of male chauvinist pigs.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-10-22.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Howard Chang talks about why we love both online and print books and other resources about words. (1:50)

Dave Shepherd shares some suggestions by listeners for good online word resources. Thanks especially to Frank Jonen for The Devil's Dictionary and Eric Strauss for The Origins of Cliches. (4:36)

Howard Shepherd sings the praises of Bartleby.com. (5:56)

Howard Chang and Dave talk about many of their favorite online sites (7:25):

Song: 'Find the Words,' by Chandler (14:05)

Rude word of the week: 'plagiarist' (18:20)

Song: 'Blue Book,' by Jamen Brooks (21:26)

Howard Chang, Howard Shepherd, and Dave discuss their favorite word books (25:04):

Music courtesy of GarageBand.com

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 36:53
size: 16.9 Mb

rating: G (People of all ages should read word books.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-10-15.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Dave Shepherd shares a joke from Ed Nickow about American monolingualism. (1:56)

Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd talk about registers of language and explore the concept of 'vertical' registers. (2:49)

One interesting hierarchy of 'vertical' registers is proposed by Cheryl Carter.

Song: 'Proper English,' by Frontliners (12:11)

Rude word of the week: 'gauche' (15:51)

Song: 'Intimate Strangers,' by Aaron Cheney (19:14)

'Horizontal' registers, jargon, and community argot (22:54)

Theme music by Kick the Cat

Music courtesy of GarageBand.com

time: 29:11
size: 13.2 Mb

rating: G (This podcast is mostly done in a polite register of language.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-10-08.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:33pm EDT

Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd talk about words used to describe people who are running away from dreadful situations. (1:51)

Song: 'Home,' by Hawkeye (14:44)

Rude word of the week: 'bum' (20:44)

Music: 'In His Time,' by 21DCO (27:09)

Fear and terror, terrorists and freedom fighters (27:08)

Theme music by Kick the Cat

Music courtesy of GarageBand.com

time: 37:19
size: 17.1 Mb

rating: PG-13 (Howard mentions an alteration of a racial slur.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-10-01.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:28am EDT