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

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

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Unless otherwise specifically attributed, all original work in this site and feed (including all audio files, web pages, and images) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd talk about a virtual rainbow of color metaphors. (2:03)

Song: 'Blue Bird Tattoo,' by Circe Link (20:02)

Rude word of the week: 'yellow' (23:06)

Song: 'Lime,' by Persona (26:22)

The many faces of 'green,' plus a bit of brown-nosing (29:53)

Music courtesy of

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 35:17
size: 16.2 Mb

rating: PG (Everything's just fine, until we talk about brown-nosing at the end.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-11-26.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:03pm EST

Dave Shepherd explains why we put a 'ratings' announcement at the beginning of each show. (1:51)

Howard Shepherd and Dave give it 110% as they explore clichés. (3:04)

Song: 'Friday Night,' by Amy Dalley (13:33)

Rude word of the week: 'shit happens' (17:21)

Song: 'Sick As a Dog,' by Brad Sucks (21:04)

Clichés from the news (24:12)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat, courtesy of

time: 31:25
size: 14.4 Mb

rating: PG-13 (Our rude word is one that Dave, for one, would not want to hear his middle-school students use.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-11-19.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:46pm EST

Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd talk about the relationship of names to identity--a revisitation of our show 'The Power of Names.' (1:54)

  • Many listeners have emailed us with comments about name-related topics. (2:08)
  • Names are used as concealments and as self-expression on the Internet. (4:55)
  • Our names are connected to our faces and identities. (8:39)
  • Names enter our language as eponymous adjectives. (12:40)
Song: 'Forget My Name,' by The Spinning Jennies (17:57)

Rude word of the week: 'troll' (20:45)

Song: 'Find My Name,' by Kristin Dare (24:50)

Marriage and names--changes and choices (28:55)

An ancient Roman's life changes when he takes his adopted father's name. (31:52)

Music courtesy of

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 35:42
size: 16.4 Mb

rating: PG (explanation of a Neronian phlebotomy; a rude definition of our Rude Word)

Direct download: TWN-2005-11-12.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:59pm EST

Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd talk about euphemisms--nice ways of saying things. (Mom taught us that if we couldn't say anything nice, we shouldn't say anything at all.) (1:52) Song: 'Collateral Damage,' by Furthur Abuse (17:48)

Rude word of the week: 'vomit,' and several euphemisms for it (21:57)

Song: 'In Words,' by Instant Winner (24:48)

Dysphemism, euphemism's evil twin--less pleasant ways of saying things (This idea is clearly explained by Dr. Susanna Cumming of the University of California/Santa Barbara.) (28:12)

Music courtesy of

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 32:28
size: 14.9 Mb

rating: R (Our discussion of sexual euphemisms is pretty frank, especially of John Roberts's press-gaggle gaff.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-11-05.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST