Tulips and a windmill

Damn coronavirus! How the Dutch use diseases as curse words.


What to do with pent up anxiety? Some say profanities help relieve stress. But while English swear words and phrases are often linked to sex, in the Dutch language, many profanities and expletives are derived from disease.

US President Barack Obama shakes the hand of Pakstani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Your political views can predict how you pronounce certain words

a button with the word "OK"

Curious Kids: Why do we say ‘OK’?

A woman walks by a mural in New York.

Why are so many languages spoken in some places and so few in others?

A group of Latina women in front of white boards pose for the camera

Latina Rebels turn to memes, humor to rethink media on hot-button issues

Yes or No

When an American says ‘sure’ to a Brit, does it mean yes or no?

The World in Words

When American Lynne Murphy says “sure” to her British husband, he thinks she means “not really.”

Scientist Joshua Miele demonstrates a virtual wireless Braille keyboard attached as an input device to an Android phone.

Will blind people use Braille in the future?

The World in Words

Some people believe technology will render Braille obsolete and that blind people will choose talking apps and audiobooks over embossed dots. But Braille has been written off many times before and each time, it has come back stronger.

A picture of a Basque Shepherd

How the Basque language has survived

The World in Words

This week on the podcast we talk about Basque. How did this language survive the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco when speaking and writing and reading were illegal? With more than six dialects, how did Basque develop a language standard? And how has this minority language thrived and even grown in the years since Francisco Franco’s dictatorship ended?

British band The xx performing at the Pabst Theater, Milwaukee.

Why we are so drawn to the letter ‘X’


From X-rated to Gen X to Latinx, the meaning of “X” has shifted while retaining an edgy, transgressive quality.

Olivier Had it Wrong: Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation

Arts, Culture & Media

What if Hamlet didn’t sound like a proper English bloke, but more like someone from the American South?