My Blue God: Hard Words

June 28, 2018

Lexicographers have a tweaked view of the language, and that includes hard words. No, not those hard words, like “koinonia” and “marocain” (Spelling Bee shoutout!). It's the small words are the ones that make lexicographers weep. Steve and Kory take a look back at some of the hard words they've defined, and along the way, Steve talks parts of speech and forks up the conversation in the best possible way. Kory drops some nerd history about Latin and dictionaries, as she is wont to do. Colors are invoked (with an assist by Steve Martin), as are the Muppets, and God shows up as well. And we learn that Steve should have been a cartographer while Kory freaks out about directions.


P45! Multiple appearances thereof and the dirty secret behind it. 

- Goofus calls us “lower-class slobs”; Gallant says we “had humble beginnings.”

- Mispronunciation Index: one. Just the one.


Pronunciations, or You Say “Diaeresis” and I Say “Diaeresis”

June 14, 2018

Lots of people use dictionaries not for the definitions--who cares about those?--but for the pronunciations. Steve and Kory talk about how those pronunciations came to be, and why the pronunciation editor gets to watch TV all day instead of getting a REAL JOB. They explain what that stupid bananapants alphabet that American dictionaries use for pronunciations is, drop some hot history on how pronunciations got into dictionaries, and go very inside-baseball on how editors figure out which pronunciations to include when they get stuck. Kory talks about Walter Cronkite and lingerie; Steve talks about flaps. And if that wasn't enough, did you know that dictionaries enter the "noo-KYOO-lur" pronunciation of "nuclear"? They sure as shootin' do!


- Arthur the Rat! 
- Tattoos! (Steve's, not Kory's)
- The dankest of nerd memes
- Stamper Mispronunciation Index: 1 intentional, 1 unintentional, 1 disputed