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Words for Granted

Ray Belli

45
Followers
124
Plays
Words for Granted
Words for Granted

Words for Granted

Ray Belli

45
Followers
124
Plays
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Hear my episodes ads free! Get one bonus episode per series! Get access to episodes one day early! Become part of the private member community where you can talk directly to me and other fans!

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About Us

Words for Granted is a podcast that looks at how words change over time. Host Ray Belli uses linguistic evolution as a way of understanding larger historical and cultural changes.

Member Benefits

As a Words for Granted member on Himalaya, you’ll have access to bonus episodes, ad-free episodes, and transcripts. Through Himalaya’s Community feature, you’ll also be able to directly engage in discussions with me and other fans of the show. All language-oriented topics are welcome! Additionally, I’ll occasionally post “behind the scenes” content such as reading lists and blooper videos of my recording process. Creating a single 25-minute podcast can take upwards of 40 hours of research, writing, and recording time, so your membership goes a long way!

Latest Episodes

Episode 75: Grandmother/Grandfather

Ad-free AvailableWhat makes your parents' parents so ... grand? In today's episode, we trace the etymology and emergence of the French-influenced kinship prefix "grand." We also look at Old English words for "grandparents" and "grandchildren" before the "grand" prefix became conventional. Just for good measure, we also take a look at the kinship prefix "great." To claim your 1-month free trial of the Great Courses Plus, click here.

19 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Episode 75: Grandmother/Grandfather

Episode 74: Sibling

Ad-free AvailableToday, "sibling" is one of the most basic kinship terms. However, it wasn't introduced into the language until 1903 by a pair of scientists working on genetics. More accurately, "sibling" wasreintroduced into the language after 1,000 years of dormancy. In this episode, we look at "sibling" in its Old English context and explore its Indo-European roots. Furthermore, we look into the etymology of "brother" and "sister." For your free 1-month trial of The Great Courses Plus, click here.

17 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Episode 74: Sibling

Episode 73: Papa/Dada/Father

Ad-free AvailableIn today's episode, we explore the origins of some of the universal characteristics of nursery father terms in languages from around the world. For a 1-month free trial of the Great Courses Plus, click here.

19 MINJUL 13
Comments
Episode 73: Papa/Dada/Father

Episode 72: Mama/Mom

Ad-free Available"Mama" is a mysterious word. In the vast majority of languages around the world, the word for "mama" sounds something like ... "mama." In today's episode, we uncover the reason for this peculiar universality. Spoiler alert: It has something to do with babies. For a free 1-month trial of The Great Course plus, click here.

18 MINJUL 1
Comments
Episode 72: Mama/Mom

Episode 71: Noah Webster’s Dictionary

Ad-free AvailableNoah Webster is best known as the father of the first trust American dictionary. However, the success of Webster’s dictionary faced an uphill struggle during his lifetime. In today’s episode, we examine some of these struggles alongside the things that made Webster’s dictionary so different from the English dictionaries that preceded it. Click here to sign up for you free one-month trial of The Great Courses Plus.

30 MINJUN 16
Comments
Episode 71: Noah Webster’s Dictionary

Episode 70: Noah Webster (Early Works and Spelling Reforms)

Ad-free AvailableNoah Webster is best known for his "all-American" dictionary, but in today's episode, we take a look at Webster's earlier works includingThe Grammatical Institute of the English LanguageandDissertations on the English Language. In these works, Webster lays the groundwork for his future dictionary, revealing his political motivations for his spelling reforms and advocation of "American English." Be sure to go to www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/wordsto get a one-month free subscription to The Great Courses Plus!

24 MINMAY 27
Comments
Episode 70: Noah Webster (Early Works and Spelling Reforms)

Episode 69: OK

Ad-free Available"OK" is both the most spoken and written word in the entire world. It's such a fundamental part of modern communication that it's hard to imagine the world without it, yet in spite of its ubiquity and compact versatility, "OK" is under two hundred years old. Today's episode tells the story of the word's origins in 19th century America. If the leading theory is correct, then OK might just be the most successful inside joke of all time.

23 MINMAY 5
Comments
Episode 69: OK

Episode 68: Yankee

Ad-free AvailableThe most popular usage of the word “Yankee” today is in the name of the baseball team, but etymologically, “Yankee” has nothing to do with baseball. “Yankee” is an elusive word whose definitive etymology is unknown and whose connotations change depending on who’s using the term. In today’s episode, we explore the word’s most likely etymology and consider the its implications from various points of view and time periods.

22 MINAPR 13
Comments
Episode 68: Yankee

Episode 67: The American Pronunciation of R (Rhoticity)

Ad-free AvailableOne of the most defining characteristics of the Standard American English accent is “rhoticity,” or the pronunciation of the letter R. Unlike Standard British English, Standard American English always pronounces the letter R regardless of its position within a word. In today’s episode, we trace the origins and evolutions of this feature of Standard American English. (Spoiler alert: The prevalence of American rhoticity has ebbed and flowed over time.)

23 MINAPR 1
Comments
Episode 67: The American Pronunciation of R (Rhoticity)

Episode 66: The Emergence of the American Lexicon

Ad-free AvailableThe English spoken in America began to diverge from the English spoken in Britain shortly after British settlers first arrived in the New World. In today’s episode, we look at several ways how “Americanisms” began to form and how English speakers on the other side of the pond reacted to them.

23 MINMAR 12
Comments
Episode 66: The Emergence of the American Lexicon

Latest Episodes

Episode 75: Grandmother/Grandfather

Ad-free AvailableWhat makes your parents' parents so ... grand? In today's episode, we trace the etymology and emergence of the French-influenced kinship prefix "grand." We also look at Old English words for "grandparents" and "grandchildren" before the "grand" prefix became conventional. Just for good measure, we also take a look at the kinship prefix "great." To claim your 1-month free trial of the Great Courses Plus, click here.

19 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Episode 75: Grandmother/Grandfather

Episode 74: Sibling

Ad-free AvailableToday, "sibling" is one of the most basic kinship terms. However, it wasn't introduced into the language until 1903 by a pair of scientists working on genetics. More accurately, "sibling" wasreintroduced into the language after 1,000 years of dormancy. In this episode, we look at "sibling" in its Old English context and explore its Indo-European roots. Furthermore, we look into the etymology of "brother" and "sister." For your free 1-month trial of The Great Courses Plus, click here.

17 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Episode 74: Sibling

Episode 73: Papa/Dada/Father

Ad-free AvailableIn today's episode, we explore the origins of some of the universal characteristics of nursery father terms in languages from around the world. For a 1-month free trial of the Great Courses Plus, click here.

19 MINJUL 13
Comments
Episode 73: Papa/Dada/Father

Episode 72: Mama/Mom

Ad-free Available"Mama" is a mysterious word. In the vast majority of languages around the world, the word for "mama" sounds something like ... "mama." In today's episode, we uncover the reason for this peculiar universality. Spoiler alert: It has something to do with babies. For a free 1-month trial of The Great Course plus, click here.

18 MINJUL 1
Comments
Episode 72: Mama/Mom

Episode 71: Noah Webster’s Dictionary

Ad-free AvailableNoah Webster is best known as the father of the first trust American dictionary. However, the success of Webster’s dictionary faced an uphill struggle during his lifetime. In today’s episode, we examine some of these struggles alongside the things that made Webster’s dictionary so different from the English dictionaries that preceded it. Click here to sign up for you free one-month trial of The Great Courses Plus.

30 MINJUN 16
Comments
Episode 71: Noah Webster’s Dictionary

Episode 70: Noah Webster (Early Works and Spelling Reforms)

Ad-free AvailableNoah Webster is best known for his "all-American" dictionary, but in today's episode, we take a look at Webster's earlier works includingThe Grammatical Institute of the English LanguageandDissertations on the English Language. In these works, Webster lays the groundwork for his future dictionary, revealing his political motivations for his spelling reforms and advocation of "American English." Be sure to go to www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/wordsto get a one-month free subscription to The Great Courses Plus!

24 MINMAY 27
Comments
Episode 70: Noah Webster (Early Works and Spelling Reforms)

Episode 69: OK

Ad-free Available"OK" is both the most spoken and written word in the entire world. It's such a fundamental part of modern communication that it's hard to imagine the world without it, yet in spite of its ubiquity and compact versatility, "OK" is under two hundred years old. Today's episode tells the story of the word's origins in 19th century America. If the leading theory is correct, then OK might just be the most successful inside joke of all time.

23 MINMAY 5
Comments
Episode 69: OK

Episode 68: Yankee

Ad-free AvailableThe most popular usage of the word “Yankee” today is in the name of the baseball team, but etymologically, “Yankee” has nothing to do with baseball. “Yankee” is an elusive word whose definitive etymology is unknown and whose connotations change depending on who’s using the term. In today’s episode, we explore the word’s most likely etymology and consider the its implications from various points of view and time periods.

22 MINAPR 13
Comments
Episode 68: Yankee

Episode 67: The American Pronunciation of R (Rhoticity)

Ad-free AvailableOne of the most defining characteristics of the Standard American English accent is “rhoticity,” or the pronunciation of the letter R. Unlike Standard British English, Standard American English always pronounces the letter R regardless of its position within a word. In today’s episode, we trace the origins and evolutions of this feature of Standard American English. (Spoiler alert: The prevalence of American rhoticity has ebbed and flowed over time.)

23 MINAPR 1
Comments
Episode 67: The American Pronunciation of R (Rhoticity)

Episode 66: The Emergence of the American Lexicon

Ad-free AvailableThe English spoken in America began to diverge from the English spoken in Britain shortly after British settlers first arrived in the New World. In today’s episode, we look at several ways how “Americanisms” began to form and how English speakers on the other side of the pond reacted to them.

23 MINMAR 12
Comments
Episode 66: The Emergence of the American Lexicon

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