That's What They Say Funner, snuck, and LOL are all things that we're hearing people say these days.That's What They Say is a weekly segment on Michigan Radio that explores our changing language.University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan studies linguistics and the history of the English language. Each week she'll discuss why we say what we say with Michigan Radio Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth.That's What They Say airs Sundays at 9:35 a.m. on Michigan Radio and you can podcast it here.
That's What They Say

That's What They Say

From Michigan Radio

Funner, snuck, and LOL are all things that we're hearing people say these days.That's What They Say is a weekly segment on Michigan Radio that explores our changing language.University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan studies linguistics and the history of the English language. Each week she'll discuss why we say what we say with Michigan Radio Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth.That's What They Say airs Sundays at 9:35 a.m. on Michigan Radio and you can podcast it here.

Most Recent Episodes

TWTS: Sometimes all it takes is a carrot, except when it also takes a stick

Some things go together like peas and carrots. Others go together like carrots and sticks, which could mean a lot of different things, depending on how you use this phrase.

TWTS: Sometimes all it takes is a carrot, except when it also takes a stick

TWTS: Ambiguity notwithstanding, some still like to use "notwithstanding"

Possible objections notwithstanding, the Canadian Justice Department has recommended that "notwithstanding" be replaced in legal writing. But why? The answer takes us deep into some pretty nerdy weeds.

TWTS: Ambiguity notwithstanding, some still like to use "notwithstanding"

TWTS: Beneath the surface road

Surface roads can be highways, but they don't have to be. Surface roads can also be surfaced, but again, they don't have to be.

TWTS: Dear Internet, please remove this article about the Streisand effect

Our fellow word nerds at Merriam Webster are watching the phrase "the Streisand effect." At least one of our listeners is watching it too, and alerted us to the verb "to Streisand."

TWTS: Dear Internet, please remove this article about the Streisand effect

TWTS: Lounge on the chaise longue, unless you prefer a chaise lounge

Confronted with a long chair on which one longues, some American English speakers call it a "chaise longue" and some call it a "chaise lounge."

TWTS: Just say "no." Or just say "I'm busy"

Knowing the different conversational meanings of a phrase like "I'm busy" is an important part of knowing how to use a language.

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.

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.

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.

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."