That's What They Say

By Anne Curzan, Rebecca Kruth

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.

Category: Language Learning

Open in Apple Podcasts

Open RSS feed

Open Website

Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 137
Reviews: 0


That's What They Say is a weekly segment on Michigan Radio that explores our changing language. Each week University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan will discuss why we say what we say with Michigan Radio Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth.

Episode Date
TWTS: There's a certain intensity to doing something intently
When people watch or study something intently, there certainly is an intensity to that. We wouldn't call these words interchangeable though.
Aug 07, 2022
TWTS: Why we can't spend our lifes cutting loafs with knifes
At some point you probably learned that words like "wife" and "life" are spelled with a "v" instead of "f" in plural form. Easy enough, until you found out plenty of other words, like "roof" and "sheriff," don't follow this rule.
Jul 31, 2022
TWTS: Take your best upshot
There are upshots and upsides, and there can be upsides to upshots. For some speakers, upshots can even be upsides.
Jul 25, 2022
TWTS: We won't chide you for your past participle of "chide"
Frequent listeners of That's What We Say know how we much we love to talk about the constant phenomenon of words changing in meaning and use. This week we tackle three examples, including a question about the past participle of "chide."
Jul 17, 2022
TWTS: Ain't too proud to talk about "ain't"
The only thing wrong with “ain’t” is that someone decided there’s something wrong with it.
Jul 10, 2022
TWTS: Ten years later, we haven't run out of words
As we celebrate the nation's birthday this week, That's What They Say is celebrating ten years of episodes.
Jul 03, 2022
TWTS: A shrinking pronunciation schism
Many standard dictionaries still list the traditional pronunciation of “schism” first. However, if you used it, a lot of people probably wouldn’t know what you were talking about.
Jun 26, 2022
TWTS: For people that use “that” instead of “who”
English Professor Anne Curzan used to cross out "that" and write "who" when her students wrote things like "the person that" in their papers. Then a graduate student asked her why.
Jun 19, 2022
TWTS: A spot of tea with a side of paper
Many contemporary dictionaries will only give the paper meaning of “loose leaf." What happened to the tea?
Jun 05, 2022
TWTS: To whom who are concerned about “who” vs. “whom”
It seems like a good time to revisit the question of when it works well to use "whom."
May 29, 2022
TWTS: Exploiting pronunciation variants to break down "exploitative"
When something or someone exploits other things or people, we can say they’re “exploitive," “exploitative” or “exploitative.” Yeah, two of these look identical, but trust us, they sound different.
May 08, 2022
TWTS: Not-so tender hooks
When you’re waiting nervously in anticipation of something, you’re on a kind of hook that may feel tender, but it’s not. The metaphorical hooks on which you find yourself are actually "tenterhooks."
May 01, 2022
TWTS: A glimpse "beyond the pale"
When something is "beyond the pale," it has crossed the line, or perhaps we could say crossed the fence that delineates what is acceptable.
Apr 10, 2022
TWTS: Better late than later ... or latemost
When we're talking about two things, we can talk about the former thing and the latter thing. However, once we have three or more things, not everyone agrees on whether there can be a "latter" thing.
Apr 03, 2022
TWTS: When "late" is the difference between life and death
Some words are deceptively simple. For example, "late" is short, easy to spell and pronounce, but it comes with a laundry list of meanings, some of which you really don't want to confuse.
Mar 27, 2022
TWTS: Havoc isn't the only thing that gets wreaked
When there’s havoc, it’s often wreaked. When we wreak something, it’s often havoc. But what do "wreak" and "havoc" mean?
Mar 19, 2022
TWTS: New verbs beget old questions about tense
"Gaslighting" isn't a new concept, but the verb "gaslight" has seen a surge in popularity in the past few years. That's left some people wondering what the past tense of the verb is.
Mar 06, 2022
TWTS: We'll be "up and at 'em," once you tell us who 'em are
When you hear someone say “up and at ‘em,” you probably know what to do, even if you don’t know who “’em” refers to.
Feb 27, 2022
TWTS: "Both" and "each" are interchangeable, except when they're not.
When you’re only talking about two things, “both” and “each” can be interchangeable and often are. However, “both” can sometimes be ambiguous.
Feb 20, 2022
TWTS: A snowblower can snowblow snow, but a linguist can help you talk about it later
There's a certain satisfaction in telling someone about snowblowing half a foot of accumulation off your driveway. That is, until you stumble over the past tense of "snowblow."
Feb 13, 2022