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The Word Nerds

  1. The forum is dead, long live the forum2012/02/21
    What’s this? After over two years, two posts in one day? The Word Nerds Forum has been removed from the site. It has not been active in well over two years, and it has become an administrator’s nightmare, since it seems only to attract new registration requests generated by spambots. I hope that if I … Continue reading The forum is dead, long live the forum
  2. The Word Nerds site, restored2012/02/21
    First of all, no, we are not getting ready to start producing more Word Nerds episodes. Sorry. However, I can see that many people keep coming back to the site, viewing the blog posts and listening to the podcast episodes. Alas, I have neglected the site terribly over the past 2+ years. Today I updated … Continue reading The Word Nerds site, restored
  3. Status update: goodbye for now (120)2009/09/02
    This is Dave Shepherd with an update on the status of the Word Nerds podcast. Most of you have noticed that we Word Nerds have been absent from the airwaves (or the Internet-waves) since April of this year. We’re sorry about our extended absence. Over the past four years we have built a sizeable community … Continue reading Status update: goodbye for now (120)
  4. Workplace Communications (119)2009/04/12
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  5. Nostalgia (118)2009/03/29
    Nostalgia: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd are on location in one of the important places of their young adulthood, where they talk about nostalgia. Thanks to Maureen B. for a PayPal donation. Dave makes a couple of corrections. Thanks to Jack Sprat Café on E. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for providing space … Continue reading Nostalgia (118)
  6. Writing (117)2009/03/14
    Writing: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd glance down at their written notes–albeit not handwritten–as they talk about writing. Thanks to Kay Horst S., Jeff O., Kate S., Margaret C., and an anonymous friend for donations through the PayPal button. Thanks as well to Alan H., who sent us the link to the BBC news article … Continue reading Writing (117)
  7. Translation (116)2009/02/28
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  8. Facebook and Social Networking (115)2009/02/14
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  9. Words and Phrases That Tick Us Off! (114)2009/01/25
    Words and Phrases That Tick Us Off! Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd are grouchy at the end of a tough work week. They explore words and phrases that tick them off. Thanks to Warren G., John P., Andreas B., Elin P. David W., Mary T., and Nancy E.-W. for donations through the PayPal button. Thanks … Continue reading Words and Phrases That Tick Us Off! (114)
  10. Abbrevs. & txt (113)2009/01/11
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  11. Currency (112)2008/12/27
    Currency: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd cash in on the latest news and trends as they talk about currency–in money and in speech. Investing something (language or money) with value; potency and context (2:10) Profanity and language in different cultural contexts; a citation from John Ciardi, the Charles Hodgson of the 1980s (8:30) Music bumper … Continue reading Currency (112)
  12. Morphing, Changing, and Dying Words (111)2008/12/14
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  13. Say Again? (110)2008/11/29
    Say Again? Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd discuss remakes, do-overs, and other kinds of re-visitation. Thanks to Patrick M., Alan H., Leandro B., Stuart W., Dmitriy P., and Peter L. for PayPal donations. Thanks also to Tom D., Tomas A., Anne J., Steve H., and Peter H. for emails. (2:11) The need to revisit “old” … Continue reading Say Again? (110)
  14. Irony and Satire (109)2008/11/16
    Irony and Satire: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd try to avoid speaking sarcastically to each other as they explore irony and satire. This week’s topic was suggested by Abbie G., a smart 9th-grader. Ironically, this show ended up being rated “R” and given an explicit tag. (Sorry, Abbie!) (2:08) Dave and Barbara just attended the … Continue reading Irony and Satire (109)
  15. Stories and Storytelling (108)2008/10/25
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  16. Debate (107)2008/10/13
    Debate: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd argue back and forth and try to come to agreement about the meaning of debate. Thanks to Alex Enkerli for an audio comment on MyChingo. (2:03) This edition was inspired by an email from Paul Lawler (3:45) Definitions of debate; what exactly constitutes a debate? (5:26) Music bumper from … Continue reading Debate (107)
  17. Linguistic Tics (106)2008/08/31
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  18. Ambiguity (105)2008/08/24
    Ambiguity: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd try very hard to figure out exactly what each other means, as they explore the topic of ambiguity. Thanks to Paul L., Smaran D., Mary M., Michelle M., Dolores B., and Peter D. for PayPal donations (1:52) Emails from Paul L., Adam R., Maria C., and Anne J. Also, … Continue reading Ambiguity (105)
  19. Syntax (104)2008/07/27
    Syntax: This week it’s shake-up the order of sentences that Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd do, as explore the topic of syntax they shall. Thanks to Emma H. and Mary T. for PayPal donations (2:07) Syntax: not just word order, but sentence structure in general. Which came first, the thing or the act? (2:33) Music … Continue reading Syntax (104)
  20. Please complete our audience survey. (103A)2008/07/25
    The Word Nerds would be very grateful if everyone listening could complete the audience survey on our website, thewordnerds.org. See the navigation column on the right side of the web page. This survey will give us valuable statistical evidence of who is listening to our show, so that any advertising we do is appropriate and … Continue reading Please complete our audience survey. (103A)
  21. Prosody (103)2008/07/07
    Prosody: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd try not to use “that tone” with each other as they discuss prosody in speech and in poetry. Thanks to Marilyn O. for a PayPal donation (1:54) Speech prosody: the rhythm, intonation, and grouping of sounds that are part of human speech. (2:17) Music bumper from “Heartless” by Michael … Continue reading Prosody (103)
  22. Rhetoric, part 3: Rhetoric in Famous Speeches (102)2008/05/26
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  23. Games and Wordplay (101)2008/04/20
    Games and Wordplay: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd explore word games, games with words, and ways of playing with words. Dave thanks Brad and Naoko for donations, and Naoko, Ralsen, Asa, Jason and Hossein for their emails. (1:59) This show was inspired by a game published by Brad Chase, Orijinz. We play a couple of … Continue reading Games and Wordplay (101)
  24. Baby Talk (100)2008/03/22
    Baby Talk: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd use their best adult vocabulary as they discuss baby talk. Dave thanks Andy, Beverley and Jianxia for their support through the PayPal donation button. (2:00) This is show #100. The recording date, March 21, is the third anniversary not only of The Word Nerds, but also of Schlaflos … Continue reading Baby Talk (100)
  25. Rhetoric, part 2–Tropes and Schemes (99)2008/03/01
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  26. Body Words (98)2008/02/09
    Body Words: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd put their noses to the grindstone and go toe-to-toe in a tete-a-tete, as they talk about body words. Dave thanks Scott and Mary for their support through the PayPal donation button. (2:05) This topic is, of course, the theme of Charles Hodgson’s book Carnal Knowledge. It was suggested … Continue reading Body Words (98)
  27. Rhetoric, part 1 (97)2008/01/19
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  28. Special 2008 New Year’s Edition (96A)2008/01/02
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  29. Silence and Speechlessness (96)2007/12/09
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  30. Religious Words (95)2007/11/17
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  31. Nicknames (94)2007/10/27
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  32. Public Speaking (93)2007/10/06
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  33. Transitions (92)2007/09/15
    Transitions: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd try to move smoothly from one sub-topic to another as they talk about transitions, both in language and in life. Emails and voice messages from Angy, Joel, MrGraphxFargo, Ken, and Ric (2:33) Change in our lives, and the continuum of change and transition (5:51) Music bumper from “Ockham’s Shaving … Continue reading Transitions (92)
  34. “Inside” Language (91)2007/08/26
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  35. Small Talk (90)2007/08/04
    Small talk: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd, who haven’t seen each other for several months, make and discuss small talk. We encourage you to check our our friend Charles Hodgson’s book Carnal Knowledge. (2:22) The inspiration for this show was the book How to Talk to Anybody About Anything by Leil Lowndes. (3:21) In response … Continue reading Small Talk (90)
  36. Synonyms (89)2007/07/17
    Synonyms: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd discuss, chat, and talk about a plethora, a bundle, a whole bunch of ideas about synonyms. Austin Tichenor of the Reduced Shakespeare Company left us an audio comment via our MyChingo button. (1:55) It was Dave’s turn to travel to German-speaking Europe this past month. (3:04) The inspiration for … Continue reading Synonyms (89)
  37. Abridgment (88)2007/06/24
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  38. Okay, it’s fixed.2007/06/06
    After some frantic posting and emailing to several knowledgable people, including fellow podcasters on the Yahoo Podcasters group, I think I have fixed our site. You should now be able to directly download our shows. I have not tested it yet, but I believe you also should be able to download via your podcatcher’s subscription … Continue reading Okay, it’s fixed.
  39. Podcast problems2007/06/05
    A listener posted a comment alerting me to the fact that our media files seemed to be unavailable for download. I don’t know what has happened to our blog or feed to cause this, but I have a couple of inquiries out. I apologize for this unexpected glitch that has temporarily taken The Word Nerds … Continue reading Podcast problems
  40. Where did we go?2007/05/29
    More than one person has asked us this question lately, via email or the forum. We have not died and gone away. The Word Nerds does continue to live. We just have not been able to record a new show in the past three weeks or more. The reason for this is quite simple: there … Continue reading Where did we go?
  41. Spring Break (87A)2007/04/23
    Spring Break Edition: Dave Shepherd does not have a linguistic topic, nor a Rude Word, nor a song–but he does respond to your emails and voicemails, and announces a new feature to the website. The Virginia Tech shooting touched us–but not directly. (2:20) We have a new feature on our blog site, a MyChingo button. … Continue reading Spring Break (87A)
  42. Expletives (87)2007/03/31
    Expletives, both rude and non-rude: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd have a rollicking good time, filling out the time of the show by talking about expletives. (NOTE: This show contains some of the rudest language we have every explicated on The Word Nerds. Not work-, school-, or family-safe!) This week’s show will have a forum … Continue reading Expletives (87)
  43. Food Metaphors (86)2007/03/11
    Food and cooking metaphors: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd explore the joys of cooking and eating by talking about food metaphors. Dave points listeners to the Deutsch 4 Podcast. Dave recently met with Bob Wright of the Baseball History Podcast when Bob was in DC for a conference of food bank volunteers and workers. Today’s … Continue reading Food Metaphors (86)
  44. Myth and Legend (85)2007/02/18
    Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd tell some tall tales about myth, legend, and language. Dave encourages listeners to digg our podcast (see the sidebar on the right side of our main blog page) and to visit the Word Nerds Forum to participate in the thread about this show. (2:52) Myth and legend: Why do they … Continue reading Myth and Legend (85)
  45. Our look is back2007/02/13
    As you can tell by looking, our old familiar visual style is back. As this is written, the podcast feed seems to be working and the blog seems both to function and to look good. The sidebar links are in place, which means you have an easy way to vote for us on Podcast Alley, … Continue reading Our look is back
  46. Pardon our plainness2007/02/08
    If you have come back to the Word Nerds’ website after having seen it before, it looks different (at least today, Thursday, February 8, 2007). This is due to the fact that we have moved the site to a new server. It will probably be a few days, or even a week or so, before … Continue reading Pardon our plainness
  47. Modal Verbs (84)2007/01/27
    Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd should, can, and must discuss modal verbs. Howard gives a shoutout to Henrik Hansen and to the Danish language-related podcast Sproghjørnet. (2:17) Howard and Dave give an overview of auxiliary verbs, of which modal verbs are a subset. (3:17) Music bumper from “Just Looking,” by The Jerrys (9:32) Modal verbs … Continue reading Modal Verbs (84)
  48. Resolutions (83)2007/01/13
    Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd welcome the new year by talking about resolutions and promises. Dave announces the repair of our feed problem and reads listener email regarding Eilzüge. (2:20) Dave and Barbara talk about the nature and timing of New Year’s resolutions and promises. (4:32) Music bumper from “The New Year,” by Love = … Continue reading Resolutions (83)
  49. Speed (82)2006/12/23
    Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd are in a massive hurry to talk about speed. Dave responds to feedback (2:08) Jesse Thorn of The Sound of Young America sent us a copy of Sky Maul: Happy Crap You Can Buy From a Plane, by Kasper Hauser. Voicemail from Kristin of The Manic Mommies Our forum is … Continue reading Speed (82)
  50. Feed issues and iTunes2006/12/15
    The vast majority of you are using iTunes as your podcast receiving software. I use it myself. Unfortunately, there is a deep disconnect between iTunes and our web server. iTunes cannot see our feed, and so gives an error message when you try to get a show. (Or more accurately stated, our server redirects our … Continue reading Feed issues and iTunes
  51. Prepositions (81)2006/12/02
    Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd look over, under, around, and through prepositions. Dave responds to a post by SimonW11 from the Word Nerds Forum about an eggcorn; talks about why our blog has looked different; and explains Howard’s current absence from the USA. (Howard visited Annik Rubens of Schlaflos in München while in Munich.) (2:03) … Continue reading Prepositions (81)
  52. About our navigation column2006/11/22
    For some reason, the customized look I created in the navigation column of our blog (that area over there to the right) keeps getting deleted somehow. I haven’t yet figured it out; I will need to take several hours (when I have free time) and go onto the WordPress and K2 fora and do some … Continue reading About our navigation column
  53. Thanks and Gratitude (80)2006/11/20
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  54. Sports Language (79)2006/10/29
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  55. Derivatives (78)2006/10/15
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  56. Sorry about the missed weekend…2006/10/09
    If you are just subscribed to The Word Nerds in a podcatching client, you won’t even see this message. If you log into the Word Nerds Forum, you’ll see it there, in the forum about the podcast. But if you come to our blog, or else look at TWN through a directory that picks up … Continue reading Sorry about the missed weekend…
  57. Periodicity (77)2006/09/24
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  58. Equivocation and Discourse (76)2006/09/18
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  59. Our Summer Reading (75)2006/09/10
    Dave Shepherd, Barbara Shepherd, and Howard Chang talk about their summer reading. (2:14) Dave’s recent favorites: The Word Nerds Discussion forum Online fora related to magic The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini Baseball as America, by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Dai Vernon: A Biography, by David Ben The Secret Art of … Continue reading Our Summer Reading (75)
  60. Summer Vacation Edition (74)2006/08/05
    Dave Shepherd announces a summer vacation for and from The Word Nerds. The show will return with new editions on September 9. (This is take 2 of this program. Take 1 was done using Übercaster, but Dave hasn’t yet learned all the ins and outs of that new Macintosh podcasting software. You’re not imagining things: … Continue reading Summer Vacation Edition (74)
  61. Endings (73)2006/07/29
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  62. Fustian Circumlocution (72)2006/07/23
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  63. Jokes (71)2006/07/15
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  64. Conversational Rules and Etiquette (70)2006/07/08
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  65. Failure and Success (69)2006/07/01
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  66. Slurring and Elision (68)2006/06/24
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  67. The forum is running.2006/06/22
    If you look up at the header of this site, you will see a new link to “Forum.” The long-promised phpBB forum has been installed and configured, and awaits your input. Please feel free to register and post to your heart’s content. This is not something to use instead of the comment threads on this … Continue reading The forum is running.
  68. Wine Words (67)2006/06/18
    Dave and Barbara Shepherd explore the language of wine. Recently, along with Julie and Mark of Washington TravelCast, they toured some Virginia wineries. (Website photos by Dave) How to talk about the qualities of wine (3:50) Interviews: John Fitter of Piedmont Vineyards and Winery and Rick Tagg of Pearmund Cellars talk about how they describe … Continue reading Wine Words (67)
  69. Greetings and Partings (66)2006/06/10
    Dave Shepherd and Howard Chang discuss greetings and partings at the end of the school year, when they must say good-bye to a lot of people. The functions of greetings and partings (1:50) Music bumper from by “Goodbye, Good Luck, Good Riddance” by The Joel Lightman Band (18:26) Idioms of greeting and parting (19:03) Song: … Continue reading Greetings and Partings (66)
  70. Hyperbole (65)2006/06/04
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  71. Memory and Language (64)2006/05/27
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  72. Sorry for the ugliness…2006/05/25
    Well, folks, as you can see, the blog has moved. Yes, the navigation sidebar is incredibly ugly. My main concern this week has been to make sure the podcast feed and blog page were all functioning. They seem to be. I will try to clean up the sidebar and links in the next several days, … Continue reading Sorry for the ugliness…
  73. We’re changing our blog! (63.5)2006/05/24
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  74. Idioms and Culture (63)2006/05/20
    Dave Shepherd welcomes back the North Carolina Nerd, Howard Shepherd, who is home from his travels to Denmark. Dave and Howard respond to several voicemails and emails about ePrime and puns. (1:55) Howard shares his memories of his trip with his students to Hobro Gymnasium in Denmark. (8:53) Revisiting our show on Insidious Idioms, we … Continue reading Idioms and Culture (63)
  75. Non-verbal Communication (62)2006/05/13
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  76. Another blog update2006/05/10
    We just learned from Apple Computer that The Word Nerds will be featured as a “splash” on the front page of the iTunes Music Store for about a week. We are very happy to have this extra promotional push by Apple, and we expect this will mean a lot of new listeners and members of … Continue reading Another blog update
  77. Some changes coming2006/05/09
    The Word Nerds will be making some changes to our blog setup sometime in the next week. (This means sometime between May 9 and May 16.) While we will continue to have our podcast audio files hosted by our favorite podcast hosting company, Liberated Syndication, we will be moving the blog and feed portion of … Continue reading Some changes coming
  78. Acting and Performance (61)2006/05/06
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  79. Language, Race and Homophonic Creep2006/05/01
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  80. Race and Language (60)2006/04/29
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  81. Puns (59)2006/04/22
    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: … Continue reading Puns (59)
  82. Music and Language (58)2006/04/15
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  83. Age and Language (57)2006/04/08
    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 … Continue reading Age and Language (57)
  84. Language of Deception (56)2006/04/01
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The Word Nerds
http://thewordnerds.org
A podcast about words, language, and why we say the things we do

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