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

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April 2006
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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 and Howard Chang welcome a voicemail on the Nerd Number from Hillary Israeli, on modern Hebrew as an invented language. (2:06)

Dave and Howard discuss racial labels and epithets, and the boundaries of acceptability. (4:35)

Music bumper from "Nada" by Jaime Beauchamp (16:24)

Race and identity: what is "race"? (17:01)

Song: "Black Madonna," by Sophia Ramos (25:54)

Rude word of the week: "halfbreed" (29:06)

Music bumper from "Meant to Be" by Rob Costlow (31:52)

Race, ethnicity, and diversity in American English (32:29)

The legal language of race and ethnicity (33:43)

Ethnic labels as names for sports teams (35:00)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat

Closing music from "Grapes" by Evan Stone

time: 39:57
size: 27.4 Mb

rating: R (We explore many aspects of race and speech, including many of the most hurtful and belittling racial epithets in modern American English.)

Tags: ,
Direct download: TWN-2006-04-29.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:54pm EDT

Dave Shepherd and Howard Shepherd respond to a voicemail from Chad at Me and the Bean about the secret girl language. (1:58)

Dave and Howard explore several different sorts of puns. (4:18)

Music bumper from "Nada" by Jaime Beauchamp (11:26)

Some serious puns (12:11)

Song: "Absinthe Minded," by Adrienne Pierce (16:03)

Rude word of the week: "dullard" (as in somebody who just doesn't get puns) (19:03)

Music bumper from "Driving Song" by Bob Hughes (22:01)

Bilingual puns (22:40)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 28:19
size: 19.5 Mb

rating: PG (Puns often have double or triple meanings. Our song celebrates a rather infamous alcoholic drink.)

Tags: ,

Direct download: TWN-2006-04-22.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Barbara Shepherd returns for the second week as a guest Nerd. She and Dave Shepherd respond to an email from Fred Chalfant about Barbara's grandmother's name. (2:52)

Dave and Barbara, who are both musicians, talk about the importance of music in their lives. (4:23)

Music bumper from "Tonight" by Zach Ashton (9:11)

What music does to language: poetry, songs, musical theater, education (9:38)

Song: "Singing to Me," by Robin Stine (14:39)

Rude word of the week: "tone deaf" (18:09)

Promo for The Sound of Young America (21:23)

The special language of music: re-purposed words in English and musical vocabulary in Italian (22:04)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 31:04
size: 21.3 Mb

rating: G (We talk about singing to our children when they were very young. Aw! Isn't that sweet?)

Categories: , , ,

Direct download: TWN-2006-04-15.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:30am EDT

Since Howard Shepherd and Howard Chang are both travelling the world, Dave Shepherd welcomes a special guest Nerd, Barbara Shepherd (the Love of His Life). (1:57)

Dave and Barbara talk about their favorite new podcast, Washington Travel Cast, produced by their good friends, Julie and Mark. Join Julie and Mark on podcast walking tours of Washington DC and the surrounding area. (2:46)

Dave and Barbara respond to audio feedback from Jenny B. with a mondegreen from childhood. We follow up by quoting a great Word Nerds mondegreen, experienced by Carrie and originally mentioned in a comment thread. (4:00)

Dave and Barbara, both Baby Boomers, talk about how their generation has shaped language. (6:55)

Music bumper from by 'Telepop' by The Jerrys (10:09)

Being children, grandchildren, and parents: how these relationships color our perception of language (10:44)

Song: '21 Years,' by 77 South (18:11)

Rude word of the week: 'square' (21:40)

Music bumper from "Essence" by Evan Stone (25:08)

Trend-watching: Barbara talks about trends that may have an impact on language and culture. (25:31)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 32:00
size: 22 Mb

rating: PG (In our Rude Word segment we make passing reference to a marijuana cigarette, but otherwise it's squeaky-clean.)

Categories: , ,

Direct download: TWN-2006-04-08.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

Dave Shepherd welcomes Adam Curry, Ashley Simpson, and Howard Stern to the Word Nerds' studio. APRIL FOOLS! Just kidding! It's really Dave and Howard Chang.

Dave and Howard respond to voicemail from Patrick regarding the Rude Word of the Week. (1:59)

On April Fools Day, Dave and Howard explore the relationship of language to deception and humor. Dave presents a mental deception he learned from Frank Freer, the late magic dealer in Berlin. (4:06)

The trickster in myth; deception and theatrical performance (10:25)

Music bumper from by "Had Me Fooled" by The Defibulators (15:12)

Dave's magic teacher, Jamy Ian Swiss, is the Honest Liar. (15:57)

Con games, hustles, deception in sales, and the Nigerian Prince email scam (16:52)

Song: "I Don't Wanna Lie," by Beatrice Ericsson (25:57)

Rude word of the week: "quack" (29:30)

Music bumper from "Just Looking" by The Jerrys (31:07)

Official and public deceptions: wagging the dog, and the "War Magician" (31:37)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat

Closing music from "Grapes" by Evan Stone

time: 38:39
size: 26.5 Mb

rating: PG (Howard's discussion of the trickster in mythology is briefly just slightly violent; otherwise this show is kid-safe.)

Categories: , ,

Direct download: TWN-2006-04-01.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:14pm EDT