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Episode 92: Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

Release Date: 12/27/2020

Episode 94: The Lost Letters of the English Alphabet (Overview) show art Episode 94: The Lost Letters of the English Alphabet (Overview)

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

You can't have the English language without the ABC's, right? Wrong. In this overview episode, we look at the history of the alphabet and the many changes it has undergone from its Phoenician origins to today. We also consider the significance runic alphabet known as futhorc, the first alphabet used to write English. Two of the lost English letters, thorn and wynn, were directly adapted from this older Germanic script. Lingthusiasm Episode 52: Writing is a Technology Runic alphabet (futhorc):

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Episode 93: Pasta show art Episode 93: Pasta

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

"Pasta" is first attested in English during the 1800's, which is later than one might expect. However, in prior centuries, a handful of closely related cognates such as "paste," "pastry," "pastel," and others were borrowed into English, so we consider how these words relate historically and etymologically to the Italian food. We also examine the semantic relationship between the words "pasta," "macaroni," and "noodle."

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Episode 92: Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner) show art Episode 92: Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

In today's episode, we look at the etymologies of our meal words––not to mention "meal" itself. (As it turns out, "meal" has a long history of usage as a measurement word.) The meanings of our meal words have shifted over time in concert with the standard time at which these meals are eaten. Spoiler: "Dinner" was the original "breakfast," and etymologically, the two words mean almost the same thing.  To support the show, go to: https://www.patreon.com/wordsforgranted

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Interview with Tim Brookes, founder of Endangered Alphabets show art Interview with Tim Brookes, founder of Endangered Alphabets

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

In this interview episode, I speak with Tim Brookes, founder of the Endangered Alphabets Project. Among many other things, we discuss why preserving endangered writing systems is so important to the cultures that use them, how writings systems become endangered in the first place, and Tim's fundraiser to raise awareness about the Mongolian script through an original board game.  You can learn more about Tim and his work at the links below. 

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Episode 91: Artichoke  show art Episode 91: Artichoke

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

In ancient Greek botanical literature, there is a reference to a spiny plant called a kaktos. This word would pass into Modern English as "cactus," though the kaktos itself was certainly not a cactus as we know it. More likely, it was an undomesticated "artichoke," a plant whose name ultimately comes from Arabic. In this episode, we take a look at the intertwined history of these two words and the plants they designate. 

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Episode 90: Apple  show art Episode 90: Apple

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

In this episode, we explore the etymology of the most culturally ubiquitous fruit, the apple. Etymologically, the ubiquity of the apple is fitting, since it originally used to refer equally to "apples" as we know them and to "fruits" in general. We also explore the Latin and Greek words for "apple," the derivatives of which are hiding in plain sight in a handful of modern English fruit and vegetable words. 

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Episode 89: Cheese show art Episode 89: Cheese

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

In the episode, we explore the etymology of "cheese," a Latin-derived word that entered the Germanic languages through trade long before the emergence of English. We also consider why the Italian and French words for cheese, formaggio and fromage, are not its cognates and how the adjective "cheesy" (meaning something lacking subtlety) evolved. 

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Episode 88: Egg show art Episode 88: Egg

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

The word "egg" plays a part in one of the most famous anecdotes in the written record about the evolution of the English language. In this episode, we consider the implications of that story and the look into the etymology of "egg" and some of its cognates. (What's with the "egg" in the idiom "to egg on," you ask? Yeah, we cover that too.) 

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Proto Indo-Europeans with Kevin Stroud of The History of English Podcast show art Proto Indo-Europeans with Kevin Stroud of The History of English Podcast

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

This episode features a conversation I had with Kevin Stroud of the History of English Podcast at this year's virtual Intelligent Speech conference. We discussed reasons why the history of the Proto Indo-Europeans - the linguistic ancestors of nearly half the world's population - remains obscure to the general public. If you're thinking racist, pseudoscientific scholarship that led to the concept of the Aryan race during World War II might be to blame, we think so too.  For the video of our conversation, follow this link:

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Episode 87: Dead Ringer show art Episode 87: Dead Ringer

Words for Granted - An etymology and linguistics podcast

The idiom "dead ringer" comes down to us from horse-racing slang, but a widely believed folk etymology links the idiom's origins to being buried alive. In this episode, we debunk the myths and get down to the written evidence behind the emergence of this phrase.  I'll be speaking with Kevin Stroud from the History of English podcast about the Proto Indo-Europeans at this year's Intelligent Speech Conference. To purchase tickets, follow this . 

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More Episodes

In today's episode, we look at the etymologies of our meal words––not to mention "meal" itself. (As it turns out, "meal" has a long history of usage as a measurement word.) The meanings of our meal words have shifted over time in concert with the standard time at which these meals are eaten. Spoiler: "Dinner" was the original "breakfast," and etymologically, the two words mean almost the same thing. 

To support the show, go to: https://www.patreon.com/wordsforgranted