Episode Information

WWL: Reading the...um, Dictionary
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
03/12/2009
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"I know it's hard for you to put food on your family" President Bush, 2000

 

Episode Audio

49:17 minutes (23.66 MB)
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There may never be a moment in your life when you’ll have to use the word “Fleteen” – meaning “Having the color of Skim Milk”.  
Or, “petrichor” – It's not a type of dinosaur… but rather the “pleasant smell of rain on the ground, especially after a long, dry spell”.
These are among the thousands of little known, and sparsely used words, smattered throughout the most complete work of it's kind - the Oxford English Dictionary - Otherwise known as the OED.  Author Amonn Shea took it as his challenge to read the entire book front to back in one year - his book, chronicling the effort is called Reading The OED: One man, one year, 21thousand 730 pages.  He says - "To simply describe the OED as "large is akin to saying that the bubonic plague was unpleasant."
We'll also talk to our language guru Dr. Humphrey Tonkin - and Michael Erard, who disects the daily slips and stumbles in our speech patterns in his book Um...:Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders and What They Mean.  

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