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

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December 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.

Dave Shepherd explains that the only reason this show is rated 'R' is because of the second song. (It would otherwise probably be PG.) (1:59)

Howard Chang, Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd talk about the langauge of games and playing. (2:19)

Song: 'Play My Game,' by Heidi McCurdy (6:35)

More gaming language--'frolic,' 'cavort,' 'puzzle,' 'pun' (9:35)

Music bumper from 'Games' by Shaun (15:30)

Greetings from Simran in India. (15:53)

Rude word of the week: 'player/playa' (16:16)

Song: 'Playa's Fo Life,' by Gangsta Tea, the Oklahoma Realist (18:36)

Games nerds play (23:05)

  • Catchphrase (23:17)
  • Taboo (24:40)
  • Scattergories (25:53)
  • Fictionary (27:17)
You play Fictionary with us. Type your answers to the word 'melicrate' as comments here under this blog post. (Listen to the choices first.) (32:37)

Music courtesy of

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 35:42
size: 16.4 Mb

rating: R (Our discussion is all pretty PG-mild, but our second song uses a racial epithet and rather rude street slang for women.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-12-31.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:42am EDT

Dave Shepherd introduces a look back over the previous 41 editions of The Word Nerds, on behalf of Howard Shepherd and Howard Chang. (3:27)

Greeting from Annik Rubens of Schlaflos in München (7:10)

Song: 'Why,' by The Day Traders (7:31)

Greeting from Sébastien of French Podclass (11:26)

Clips from the past year:

Greeting from Paul Nicholls of (17:40) Greeting from Chad ('Me') & the Bean from (21:05)

Song: 'Friday Night,' by Amy Dalley (21:05)

Greeting from Jason of Perth, Australia (24:52)

Rude Words of the Week:

Greeting from Scott Fletcher of Podcheck Review (29:10)

Song: 'Talk, Talk, Talk,' by Cheryl B. Engelhardt (29:10)

Greeting and etymology of 'accent' from Charles Hodgson of podictionary (31:31)

More clips from the past:

Greeting from Holger of MacManiacs (36:11)

Music courtesy of and The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 41:53
size: 19.2 Mb

rating: PG-13 (some of our most interesting rude words, plus sexual references in our clip from the Euphemisms show)

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

Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd define insidious idioms--quirky forms of expression that don't seem quirky to native speakers. (2:33)

Song: 'Figure It Out,' by Cara Aley (7:00)

Embedded metaphor versus insidious idiom (10:02)

Music bumper from 'Like Shine' by Likeshine. (18:18)

Rude word of the week: 'piss off' (18:46)

Song: 'So Long, Goodby,' by The Jimi Ruccolo Band (23:12)

Cross cultural confusions and insidious idioms (26:25)

Annik Rubens chats with Dave about cross-cultural confusion in Germany (26:37)

Music courtesy of

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 32:27
size: 14.9 Mb

rating: PG (We chose a less rude Rude Word than we original considered, but it's still rather rude. We also make a brief, non-explicit sexual reference.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-12-17.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:03pm EDT

Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd explore the etymology of words used to talk about curiosity. (Thanks to Paul Lawler for this topic suggestion.) (1:54)
  • curious
  • quidnunc
Song: 'Why,' by Mandi Perkins (6:19)

More about the dark side of curiosity (10:30)

  • eavesdropper
  • voyeur
  • gossip
  • Schadenfreude
  • spying, espionage
  • interrogation
Music bumper from 'Why' by Don't Call Me Dude (16:23)

Rude word of the week: 'MYOB (mind your own business)' (17:06)

Song: 'Why,' by The Day Traders (19:12)

Curiosity as a good thing (the quality that teachers like students to have) (23:07)

Music courtesy of

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 29:25
size: 13.5 Mb

rating: PG (discussion of Jeffrey Eugenides' fascinating novel Middlesex, about a hermaphrodite)

Direct download: TWN-2005-12-10.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:48pm EDT

Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd tip their hats to the great, famous, and influential word nerds in the modern history of the English language. (1:49)

Song: 'Talk, Talk, Talk,' by Cheryl B. Engelhardt (16:17 )

Our friend Jason from Perth, Australia sends greetings. (18:37)

Rude word of the week: 'old fart' (18:46)

Song: 'Mark My Words,' by Granian (22:32)

Word nerds in the mass media (up to, and including podcasting) (25:44)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat, courtesy of

time: 33:50
size: 15.5 Mb

rating: PG (We mention a recent rude Rude Word and explicate the details of this week's Rude Word.)

Direct download: TWN-2005-12-03.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT