Posted in: 2023

200. Vive la Différence: Teaching and Coaching English Speakers in French

My guest today is Angel Pretot. He’s a teacher and coach for people who want to learn French. He’s written two novels in French, but our discussion focuses on pedagogy—how does one teach another language?—and well as the differences between English and French and some of the difficulties teaching English.

Angel’s Website

Writing & Editing Website


Posted in: 2023

195. My Bonds and Mutual Funds Are Doing Great, but My Stonks Are Way Down

I’m solo today and the topic is the English language, specifically one of its very recent words: stonk. It’s a nice case study of one of the ways in which new words come into the language. First, they’re known by only a few people; then there’s a niche who know about the meme (if it was coined online, as stonk was); and then it starts to gain some acceptability (appears in dictionaries, for example).
Words We're Watching: The Story Behind "Stonks": Buying Low and Selling High in the Meme Market

What Meme Man Looks Like

Urban Dictionary


Memes Dictionary

Posted in: 2023

181. A Few More Words: Doomscrolling

I talk about the word doomscrolling and make some searches in dictionaries, in a linguistics corpus, and in Google advanced search to try to get an idea of when it first started being used. I end with a brief etymology of the very old word, doom itself.

Merriam-Webster: Words We’re Watching
“On ‘Doomsurfing’ and ‘Doomscrolling’”


NOW Corpus (News on the Web)

The Decibel
“The Problems with the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive”

Posted in: 2023

174. Avoid Verbal and Narrative Clichés in Your Writing

I talk about these two types of clichés to avoid. I use "verbal cliché" to mean hackneyed phrases and worn-out imagery that may have been imaginative and fresh at some time in the history of the language now, but has since gone stale. I use "narrative cliché" to mean the use of familiar tropes and situations in the story you are telling. This episode mostly is about fiction and film.

Garner's Modern English Usage

Imagining and Knowing: The Shape of Fiction, by Gregory Currie