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

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September 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 Shepherd and Dave Shepherd share some of their favorite bon mots, verbal put-downs and snaps. (Resource for snaps and playing the dozens: Online Magazine) (1:45)

Song: 'Lights Are On But No One's Home,' by The Churchills (15:06)

Rude word of the week: 'dumbass' (19:04)

Song: 'Cuttin' You Down to Size,' by Billy Hatley's Big City Band (23:22)

A few favorite Shakespearean insults (26:58)

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 32:53
size: 15.2 Mb

rating: PG (Mildly rude insults; brief sexual reference in The Churchills' song)

Direct download: TWN-2005-09-24.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:03am EDT

Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd explore animal metaphors and American English idioms based on animals. (1:41)

Song: 'Snakes,' by Calyptra, courtesy of (11:38)

Rude word of the week: 'dog' and other animal-based insults (14:56)

Song: 'Taller Than Dogs,' by Oscar Trim, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network (19:44)

Fantastic animal metaphors, and ancient roots of animal idioms (22:23)

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 30:51
size: 14.1 Mb
NOTE: We will save you all some hard drive space by encoding at 64 kbps and 22.05 kHz from now on. It seems to sound just as good!

rating: PG (Some animal insults are really rude.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-09-17.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:52pm EDT

Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd invited their two siblings to talk about the roots of their speech.

Robert Shepherd talks about being the son who stayed close to home. (2:25)

Howard and Dave recall learning English on the North Carolina rural route, and losing a lot of their accents. (5:37)

Song: 'Blue Highway Home,' by Jim Taylor and Friends (19:59)

Rude word of the week: 'hillbilly' (22:37)

Beth Shepherd Bliss reminisces about leaving North Carolina to come to the Philadelphia area. (27:40)

What listeners from around the USA (and Australia) call a carbonated sweet drink and a long sandwich--emails and voicemails (32:00)

Howard recalls Tom Wicker's taking professional advantage of a southern accent. (34:22)

One of our favorite podcasts that features speech of our native region is 5 Minutes With Wichita.

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 37:49
size: 34.7 Mb

rating: G (It's all about family. Our parents might even hear this one! Nothing much rude at all about this podcast.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-09-10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:03am EDT

Nerds in Europe: Traveling and Language (26) Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd respond to some of the summer's emails. Thanks to Rachael for sending us a copy of Expletive Deleted, by Ruth Wajnryb. (1:50)

Howard and Dave reminisce about their summer travels in Europe and about speaking in other languages than English. (6:29)

Song: 'Summertime,' by Brother Love, courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network (20:20)

Rude word of the week: 'schlock' (23:32)

Song: 'Bad Vacation,' by Rockwell Church, courtesy of (27:38)

Summer sounds of Vienna, Austria (31:54)

Soundseeing, sightseeing, and being a tourist (32:12)

Albumizing versus scrapbooking. (34:57)

Theme music by Kick the Cat

photos: Howard and Vanessa in Rome; Salzburg by night as photographed by Dave.

time: 38:31
size: 35.4 Mb
rating: PG (Brother Love's song contains a mild profanity. But what can be offensive about a nice trip to Europe?)

Direct download: TWN-2005-09-03.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:03am EDT

The Word Nerds urge you to support relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina through contributions to the American Red Cross or other relief organizations.

time: 1:44
size: 2.5 Mb

Direct download: TWN-2005-09-01Hurricane.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:11am EDT