Verbs on the Move

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S2: From New York City, this is Lexicon Valley, a podcast about language. I’m John McWhorter. And today, we’re gonna do something interesting, or at least I think it’s interesting and we’re gonna start up in the clouds.

S3: It all starts with how different languages are from one another. And this is something I mentioned often and I can’t stress it more. I think that even a lot of us who are language fans, we tend to think that other languages are kind of like English, maybe a little harder, maybe different in some ways. And so maybe the adjectives come after the nouns or something like that.

S1: But you figure that a noun is a noun and a verb as a verb and an adjective is an adjective. And learning another language is mostly going to be just a matter of learning what their labels are for the things that we call fire or slip or red. But no, no. Part of the joy of language is, is that you never know how a language is going to apply labels and not just labels, but action words and description words to this thing we call reality. We’re living this life. And there’s so many ways that a language can cut it up. And so what to us seems so obviously an adjective like hot or big is very often going to be a verb in some other language. What to us seems so obviously an action in some other language will be handled by a noun. And that’s just the way it is. You never know. Or the softeners that I talked about. How does a language soften? All languages have softeners. But languages do it in different ways. I talked about the things that we do in modern American English in particular. But, you know, there are other places which I’ve mentioned, such as Friesian and Dutch, where you use a little diminutive suffix is much more than we would as a way of softening there. All sorts of ways of doing it. Formality if you’re trying to figure out how to be formal in a language, trying to figure out what they use for please is only the very beginning. And they might not have a word that really translates into please. They’re all sorts of ways that a language is formal versus informal. Think about the pronouns in the European languages. We tend to learn where you’ve got the difference between, for example, two and who’s that in Spanish. That’s a kind of formality. Then in the last show I talked about how Japanese just sprinkles it all over. Almost anything you would say or even, for example, good old processes. That’s a kind of formality in its way, all sorts of things. And then in terms of splitting up reality, there’s the complexity issue. Some languages are more complex than others. I know there’s some linguists out there who don’t like it when someone says that. But frankly, all of them know deep down that if you know your way around how the grammar of a language like Navajo works, you could not realistically say that there isn’t more going on in that grammar than there is in the grammar of, say, English or Indonesian. It’s simple fact.

S4: So you never know how a language is going to a lot things. And there’s a little area that that I think we need to discuss. And the question I’m going to ask is, how does your language move? Languages move, but they move in different ways. How does a language move? It’s not just go and come. Yes.

S5: All languages have a way of saying go in a way of saying, come, I’m going to put myself on the line and say that I, of course, haven’t checked all 7000, but almost certainly any language can do go and come in somewhere, you know, their languages that actually only have, say, three verbs at all and everything else is done with a construction. And so, for example, Jingle Lou is a language. Yeah, it’s a cute name jingle. It was spoken in Australia and there are only three verbs and two of them are, wouldn’t, you know, go and come. They’re just so basic. Then there’s another one that just means really like it’s kind of like do kind of like be. And so there is no verb to sleep. You do with sleep. There is no verb to die. You do a dive and so on. But even if you’ve got just three and it comes down to the dregs of what verb Ennis’s he’s still got, go and come. But there’s a lot more to how your language moves and the fact that all languages have go income. And so the title of this episode will be and I don’t usually give the episodes titles myself and say them during the show, but there’s someone out there who knows why I am giving this episode a particular title. The title of this episode is Verbs on the Move.

S1: That clip some of you were beginning to ask me to be more specific about the clips. That’s from Moody Blues. That’s from days of future past. That’s lunch break and goodness. I remember being high as a kite. Listening to that a lot in the 80s. And I always liked lunchbreak more than I think other people did. And that’s because I’m not well, in any case, verbs on the move.

S6: Here is one basic way that languages differ. You’d never think about this even if you know the languages. But it’s something where you can fairly neatly split languages down the middle. Some languages are one way somewhere another. Of course, somewhere in between. But mostly it’s one way or another.

S7: Here’s the difference. I ran down the steps. There’s no sentence. OK, now let’s say you learn some French and you’re thinking Coulier. Yeah, that’s the way to say run. But really an idiomatic French. If you’re going to say I ran down steps. Then you say she’s sweet, disowned you. So I descended. This we do. Some do this guy gate all go home running. So I went down the steps running. So we say I ran down the steps. French. I descended the steps. I downed the steps. Running. What’s going on is that we use our verb to indicate the manner, how we were moving. How’d you go down the steps? I ran down the steps. Then we have some word afterword that indicates the direction. So I ran. I was moving my legs quickly. And then in what direction? Down in French. You do the direction part with the verb. You descend and then you have some little bit that comes afterward that indicates how so? All cool. So in running, languages differ in how that kind of thing works.

S1: And so we say I ran down the steps and we have the direction in that extra little part, not the verb, but what’s called is kind of cool. The the satellite so kind of goes around it down the steps. French is a language where the direction is in the verb. And so it’s not in the satellite, it’s in the verb. So we call English a satellite framed language if you want the pointy headed term. And French is a verb. Framed language and part of having what we call the feel of a language. This possible fuel to use that German word is having a sense, although you might not know what to call it or whether you’re dealing with a verb framed or a satellite framed language. Now, based on the feedback on the Yida show and so much else, I can tell that I have a good healthy body of Jewish listeners out there. And I’m glad because frankly, I’ve always felt like I was sort of rarely Jewish for about 800 reasons. And so here, of course, we’re gonna have to use some Hebrew.

S6: I just happened to have with me, I just brought it by chance. The first Harry Potter book in Hebrew. So let’s go through it. And this is the pages of the book. Let’s go through it and take a look at an example of this. Hebrew is actually a verb framed language as opposed to a satellite framework. So Uncle Vernon, you know, nasty Uncle Vernon, Uncle Vernon came skidding into the room. There’s a crash behind them. And Uncle Vernon came skidding into the room. Well, in the Hebrew version, Uncle Vernon Gold Vernon, remember, Hebrew has a deep voice. So Dode Vernon. And then came skidding into the room. But in Hebrew it’s knick-knacks more ed little hufford. So Nicholas Moore, it is entered then Moe Ed is kind of like you get in and you’re and you’re ready for something like. And then being kind of like a Hanna-Barbera character entrance. So that’s that’s sked enters and then is standing there ready into the room, the tall of. So Uncle Vernon skidded into the room. That’s our way of doing it. Skidded. That’s the manner. Just like running down the steps and then into that’s the direction into the room. Not getting out of the room. In Hebrew, the direction is the verb. So Nick not that’s entering. And then Moayed the manner that that other is that other little word verb framed and satellite framed. So that’s one of those things. How does your language move? Well, one answer that you want to have is whether your language is verb framed or satellite framed. And you know, our satellites in languages like English and frankly, Hebrew. No offense to Hebrew. It’s always been one of my favorites. But our satellites are boring. So it’s up, down and out. That’s all we’ve got in real languages. And I like to say that real languages are the ones that are really complicated and usually spoken by small numbers of people in real languages like, for example, the utsu daywe language of California, a Native American language. Unfortunately, no longer spoken. Now, but it was pretty well documented their satellites were so specific, so we just talk about in. And then you talk about in the water, in the fire, in the cauliflower or something like that. They had all these very specific ends. You didn’t just say into. You had to use a different word for into depending on what was coming after. If it’s into a liquid, then it was it. But if it was into a fire, then it was cease. And remember, persistent mean fire. But if it’s into the fire, then this is your into if it’s into an enclosure, then it was warm, which sounds kind of like the way my younger daughter said warm until about 10 minutes ago. It’s warm. And so we come into an enclosure. Now, if you’re going over a rim, into an enclosure, then into was it can like imagine you ever seen it like National Geographic. Something goes pitcher plants, those plants where it’s kind of shaped like a little urn. And it’s got some fluid in there. And the fly comes up in the fluid smells, sweetness slips in and it can’t get. That’s one of those carnivorous plants like a Venus flytrap. Well, I imagine that in Otsu Gateway, they botched things going into a pitcher plant or something. So it’s Ekin. That’s how you did into if you went into a passageway and blocked it up, then it was Eakes. Yes, that is what it meant. And we’re all thinking it. I imagine that’s what they used with their dirty talk. And then if you go down into an object above the ground, then it was teached this just went on and on and on. That’s only a partial list of their satellites. And it just shows you that really compared to real languages, languages like English and Hebrew are almost oddly unspecific. Our languages seem telegraphic compared to a lot of languages of the world. And so I go I come here. That’s all we’ve got, really. Languages just get so much better. And, you know, language I’ve been giving short shrift lately that I used to use a lot on the show is good old Russian. And I think we need to visit Russian again here, because motion in Russian is much more interesting and frankly frustrating than anything that we’re used to here in boring old Germanic. It’s a language that seems to almost want you not to learn it, which makes you want it even more. But for example, let’s say we’re going to go to grandmother’s house. There are two ways that you can say it. So we played Yeom Babushka. Now, you know, babushka means grandmother because what else could that word possibly mean? But moon by a deal. That’s we. And then go. So we played Yeom co-published. Great. So you learn it. That’s how to say we’re going to grandmother’s house. But then there’s another way of saying it. And it’s we play Yediot kabab bushkin. So co-published goes grandmother mooy is we we palladium go bubbles.

S8: What’s the difference between paida Ohman Bigham? It’s not a dialect. It’s not some random thing like saying he isn’t versus saying he’s not. It actually means something. It’s that palladium is if you’re walking to grandmother’s house like she lives down the street. But your idea is if you have to ride to grandmother’s house in a vehicle like in a car. It’s like at the end of the old Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special when they’re all riding in a station wagon to grandmother’s house and they’re singing over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, we go, Well, it would be me. Paul Yeah. Yeah, because they’re in a car. You have to attend to that difference, not just going. If you go on foot, it’s one thing if you go in a vehicle. It’s a different word. And this keeps going depending on what kind of vehicle you’re in if you are in a plane. You didn’t go to Moscow. You flew to Moscow. And you have to put it that way.

S1: So me, the Keleher Moscow, you don’t you didn’t go to Moscow unless you had a sack on your back and you walked on foot. You were Napoleon or something. But if you flew, you have to specify that. Now, of course, we can say we flew to San Francisco, but it’s a little hoity toity. You’re making it clear that you can afford a plane, et cetera. You can say, well, then I flew to San Francisco. But you’re being specific. You would mention that you were flying if you needed to say that you were flying. But just as often you’d say, well, you know, we went to Saint Lewis for Christmas. Well, if you live in Philadelphia, presumably you did not walk in. So we just assume the flying in Russian, you have to say the flying. And this includes things that are on the water.

S6: And so our boat’s going very quickly. We’ll know in Russian. It doesn’t go unless it’s some human boat, which. Which makes no sense. No, it has to sail. And so narf, Karabila are our boat plu veldt orchard brutha. And so Bloomfield’s sailed oakum. We struck very fast. You have to. It has to please vote. And if you’re riding in the god damn boat, then you aren’t going somewhere in it. You were caterwauling in it. And so we were sailing in. The little boat we were going in, the little boat moon. That’s the way again. Now, Ludtke, we were caterwauling in the little boat. You have to know that in Russian. And so when they’re learning English, they learn that. Well, you know, stupid English speakers, I’ll bet it’s actually put that way in at least one book. Stupid English speakers don’t make the difference between the vehicle and the sailing and the flying.

S9: They just say, go, I go ICOM.

S6: But that’s the way it works in Russian. In any case, it’s time for a song. And I imagine that I’m supposed to play something like the song. Easy come, easy go. But you know, I don’t like it. So instead, I’m going to play something that’s a little less connected to the topic. Day in and day out, because you could say that we’re talking about in and out and coming and going. This is day in, day out. This is HROOB Bloom and Johnny Mercer in 1939, just a pop song.

S10: And I’ve always just liked it. And who doesn’t like something that Ella Fitzgerald sings day in?

S11: Day out.

S12: The same MO who do lose me, you know, pounding in my head whenever I think you. Darlin, I’ve seen you and.

S13: Day.

S11: I needn’t tell you how my it’s being.

S14: You were the. Parkerville.

S15: You know, go online and listen to the rest of that just for the arrangement, you know, I like the the deejay aspect of doing this show. Thank you all so much for putting up with its fundamental incoherence. I know there is no reason to play day in, day out after talking about Russian verbs of motion in high-top, believe me, but a little more about Russian verbs of motion now that we’ve had our little break. This is just I mean, this is just crazy, stupid, sexy, wonderful about Russian. This morning I went to the museum. So 17 year old from yeah. Hadeel Vamoose amusia. I don’t know what this Russian voices, but I think they’re going to keep it so civil. Well this morning I went to the museum. Hadeed of a museum. If that’s the sort of thing you’re given to talking about. So. Yeah. Hadia. I went from music to the museum. Huddy, it went OK. So you good? OK, Huddy. That’s how you say went. There’s this verb hadiths and that’ll be to go. And then I went to the movies. So this morning I went to the museum. And then I went to the movies. So you vote. I’m your ideal for music. And then up a storm. I went to the movies. Yeah. Hardeen for Kino. No, to a Russian. That’s understandable. But you sound like a jackass. It’s devoting voting your time this morning. Yeah. Hardeen music. I went to the museum up at dawn and then. Yeah. Not Hadia. It’s ya. Pustule Lucchino. Pustule. You have to get the tone. So I put on. Yeah. Pustule for. Well why. I went to the museum so I hadeel to the museum. Good. And then I went to the movies Yapa showed to the movie.

S4: Why. And it’s not that they have a different go verb for every place you might want to go. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if a Native American language did that way. But that’s not the Slavic Way. It’s got this. It’s because if you say this morning I went to the museum and then I went to the movies. Well, you’re leaving it open, whether you got that from the movies. Whereas it’s clear that the museum trip was finished. So because you finished the trip to the museum, that’s one way of saying go. But then you’re leaving it open. What happened after you went to the other place? Then you have to use other verb. It’s a different form of to go. So, Hadia, that means that you went and you came back or you went and you left. And so it’s over. Pustule, that is just that. You went and well, it’s kind of a mystery as to what happened after that. And I shit you not. That is actually the way it works. And so somebody calls you on your cell and they say, so what are you doing, Dimitri? Dimitri might say, yeah, you do know that sounds like he’s he’s Israeli. He’ll say, yeah, you do Kino pretend that he’s like Korean in the book. So I always imagine him as kind of a goofy voice. So yeah, you do Kino. That’s what you’re doing. So you do. That’s your go verb. But let’s say somebody asked you, well, what do you do when somebody breaks up with you and you say, well, I always go to the movies, then you can’t have the you do one if I say yes. I always has, you know, and that’s because you go to the movies and then presumably you come back unless you die in there or something.

S16: And I don’t know grammatically how they would handle that. But and I know. So if you’re gonna write me it, tell me. But if somebody calls you and you’re walking along clip clop, clip clop. Dimitri walking in St. Petersburg. What are you doing, Dimitri? I’m going. Yeah, you do. But Dimitri, what do you do when Maria breaks up with you for the third time in a row? And there you are. Well, I always go to the movies. And so you have $c you Kino and you know, all the motion verbs are like that. It’s not just going you have to learn all these different forms. They’re brutally irregular, all based on whether or not you came back. And it’s not just Russian, it’s other Slavic languages, too. So, you know, going, coming, you never know how your language is going to go and come when you approach a new language. One thing that you should be watching out for is how do you move? Because it’s not going to be the way you move in. This language is not just a matter of plugging in, go and come or if it is, you’re lucky. There are some languages like that, but really you’re lucky if the language you’re learning is going to be one of those even having a word for to and from not always. So for example, my friend Mandarin, where I’m all afraid to speak it, but you know, you don’t learn language unless unless you make fun of yourself. So for example, let’s say that you’re trying to speak Mandarin and you’re talking about running into something as an inside of it, like you’re a horse running into the barn and then you want to talk about a horse running out of the barn.

S6: So you’re standing there and you horse runs out of the barn. Okay. Paul, that’s Ron Paul running into is Paul. GQ Okay. Paul is run. Gene enter to go entering gives you the direction and go indicates that it’s away from you. Paul Keen. Now if the horse is coming out, then the way you say the horse is coming out. From the barn. Is that the horse? Run. And then to light and so chill is to come out. I always imagined somebody spitting out a cheese ball, but that’s just me. Then lie is to come. So then you get the direction again. Chew is exit and then it’s also toward you. And so you get the coming. But in none of this is there’s some word for to and some word for from those things are taken care of by saying go and come. So always a go on a come. But then some little word that means to some little word that means from not necessarily many languages really are all about just the verbs. And one place where that’s common actually is in China and then southward in Southeast Asia. There’s one language spoken in the south of China and then in a whole bunch of countries underneath, it’s called La Ahu. And it’ll give you a sense of what sort of thing you have to watch out for. They have verbs just run together not only to indicate direction, but for all sorts of other things, too. So, for example, here is just a sense we made them help take it away. We made them help take it away in an ordinary sentence. And, you know, to give it some context. You know, I ordered a futon recently and it came in three pieces. The third piece got lost in the mail. And so I called up the company and I said, please send me the third piece again, because the piece got lost in the mail. But please don’t send the other two again. I don’t need duplicates of the first two and frankly, enormous pieces. I just need that third smaller part. Thank you very much. Well, of course, next day, sitting in the lobby is the third part, plus duplicates of the other two, these big, enormous things. And so I said, you know, I am not lifting those things. I’m not moving those things. You have to have somebody come from FedEx and take those pieces away. Somebody is going to have to help them if they can’t lift it. I’m not dealing with it. This actually happened in the company for the record was Wayfair and their customer service was utterly gorgeous. But then for some reason, whatever the person told the people down in the warehouse to do was never done. It was like some episode of the office. So wonderful futon, wonderful customer service. But this is a Wayfair story in any case. It matches with this idea. We made them help to take it away. That’s what I did. And actually a FedEx guy did come, although, of course, he, you know, buzzed my book. So in law, who the way that goes is we help take. Go. Send, give. That’s the way you would put that in Lahore. So it’s not just a matter of plugging in words for we made them help to take it away. Languages differ. We help. OK, take. Go is. Take it away. No word for a way. You take. Go. Help. Take. Go. Send. Send is their way of saying that you make somebody do something. So we made them help to take it away. We help. Take. Go. Send. And then give it short for. Give them meaning. This is something that we applied to them. So we help take. Go, son, give. That’s how you would say it in Lahore. And then actually you cap it off by the word. That means roughly. Yes. So we helped take go send, give. That’s just it. These are called serial verbs. Verbs in a series. Many languages have serial verbs. And that plays a lot into the whole issue of go and come. He want a song about serial. I don’t, but I’m going to give you one about toast instead.

S1: This is from the 1937 film. You’re a sweetheart. The person singing is George Murphy, who later became a Republican. Come to think of it. Congressman from California. But he started out as very much a song and dance man. And, you know, if you like stupid thirties musicals, I highly recommend you’re a sweetheart. And this song is called Scraping the Toast. I Kid You Not. It’s one of the stupidest songs ever written. And one of my favorites. And therefore, I thought I would share it with you.

S17: So no show, no one. They wake up my. I can tell right to the dark when. Just about that time away. Scrape and. Scraping that tone when I hear that money is gone, how to scrape and that scrape the loopholes. Three cheers for Ryan R-WI. Let’s burn that red up, Ryan. Oh, where mother and wife have the time of our lives with that night in the morning scraping the toes in average return from coast to coast. When morning rolls around, those breakfasts make those income pay. They start a day away from the town.

S16: Finally going and coming, it can get much more specific in different ways. It can be about the environment. Believe it or not. So, for example, my favorite example, this is a Native American language called Carrick. Carrick is spoken. I’m not sure of its status. I think there’s some speakers still left. It’s very endangered. But Carrick is spoken in Humboldt County in California, and it has some of the most specific suffixes to indicate issues of going and coming and direction. And a lot of it is about the fact that Carrick is spoken near that the Klamath River. And so everything is all about the river. And so the language would be different if these people lived in a desert or if these people lived in a rainforest. But instead, there’s this Klamath River. And so, for example, there’s a story that they tell about a coyote. And the coyote steps from the bank of the river onto a log to drink some water. Then the log starts floating. Very old cartoon. And so to say that the coyote floated down river, the way you say he floated is thievery. And then down river is Roope. And what it specifically means is from over there, down the river to where I am. All of that is just in Roope. Then in the story, the perspective switches. And so now it’s the person telling the story. And so then it becomes. He floated a long ways down river back to here. So top themaru, he floated and then Havok and Havok means to hear from upriver. And so you start with up there, down river, you’re describing the coyote. Then to hear from upriver. That’s what Roope and Varrick mean. And it’s about the river specifically. And so a very different way of thinking about coming. And of course, it works with going to.

S18: Now, I know what today.

S5: That was Joel Grey, original cast off of cabra. I’ve always wanted to play that.

S4: When I was about to say to you, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, well, really doesn’t, for example, Roope just mean down river? Why is this so special? Okay. It’s a suffix, but that doesn’t mean that they’re really doing it much differently than us. That is a smart observation. But in this case, it’s not that. It’s just a suffix that means down river. And that’s the way they say down river because they already have a word for down river. So the Roope really is just a suffix. It’s just a bit of goo-goo that means something more specific than really any suffix in English generally does. And so you themaru Roope wasn’t just he floated from up there down the river. Actually, the whole sentence was Yurok. Ruthie Roope And youlook means down river all by itself. So there is that word. But even when you’ve already said you look well, if you’re talking about this coming and it’s from over there down river and not down a path down the river, then it’s. ROOPE That’s just the way this language works. You, Brooke, is down river for the record that the language is Carrick. Carrick meant up river. All sorts of things in Carrick. It all gets very specific. It’s tied to the land. And so compare I came, I went. You think about the idiomatic meanings of those two verbs, which makes it even worse. You know, there’s nothing default about the English way. Other languages often do it in ways much more exciting. By the way, did you know that rabbit is a euphemism? Well, you’ll only learn what it’s a euphemism for if you subscribe to Slate. Plus, yeah, you knew this was coming. Slate plus means basically that you get a little bit kind of like the old sitcom Tag’s after the show where I share some interesting tidbit that happened to stimulate me that week. And the thing about Slate Plus is that for a nominal fee, you get not only that and it’s not only on my show but other slate podcasts. You get not only that, but you also don’t have to listen to any ads. Not me reading them, not somebody else. You get it ad free, then you get your little bit at the end and the money goes to support not just Lexicon Valley, but all of Slate’s other podcasts. So if you want to find out what Rabbit was, euphemism for whatever you’re guessing it’s not right. You will never guess what this is. You have to subscribe to Slate Plus. Carrick was not spoken on the prairie, but I must admit that just the notion of wide open land and coyotes floating down the river as I sit here in crowded and today actually very cold New York, I just start thinking of the prairie. This is real heat while I am about to play this. This is 1935 radio. Further back in the 30s, you go, the worse the preservation or quality of old radio tends to be. This is no exception. But please put up with the quality and listen to one of my two favorite pop tenor voices of the 1930s. There was Dick Powell, and then there was James Meltem. Listen to him singing Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie. Beautiful, beautiful voice.

S19: I’m a roving cowboy, far away from home, from the prairie.

S20: Where are you from? Where did all the wind go free? Oh, my God. Is he on the moon? Maybe even. Maybe not we more free time when you can meet the Western.

S4: You know, we need to talk a lot more about the business of processs, boy, was there healthy response to that. And I learned quite a bit.

S5: And the main thing I learned is that a lot of you use those Greek key Latin plurals a lot more than I do when I talked about axes and bases and diagnoses being rare. I was doing something that we all do and I was doing something that I warn all of you to be very wary of. And that is that I was being impressionistic. I would never say axes. I’m pretty sure I’ve never said it. I would say Axis isn’t just keep on going, especially since I almost never have to say that. So I was in my own head. And, you know, big surprise. My whole head is not the world, just like Twitter is not the United States. And so, for example, Jean Porter, thank you for letting me know that people who are actually working in a hospital do say diagnoses. I can’t even imagine it because I am lucky enough to have never spent a night in a hospital. I hope never to. If I get hit by a bus, please let me heal at home or just let me die. I do not want to spend the night at a hospital, but if I did, I imagine I would have heard people saying diagnoses instead of diagnosis is. Evelin Leaper, thank you so much. First of all, for reading Men and Dinosaurs, which was 1968 book that I remember reading that was such a get it from the library dinosaur nerd book back in the 70s. It was written by Edwin. I don’t think he pronounced it cold. The hair hurt. Evelin Leaper was for some reason reading that old book about dinosaurs and noticed that when they talked about the pelvis they did call them pΔx these in the plural. Thank you for that. I was not going to go back to that book. I really did think that pelvis was almost impossible, but apparently not. And also process’s. Many of you have written and said that if you introspect, you realize that you use processes when you’re talking about something having to do with your job, often having to do with computers, but then processes otherwise. So processes is subconsciously the way you say it when you’re referring to something professional that’s very interesting and it lines up with the sorts of things that I was imagining or professing. And so processes and processes are versions of the same word that are conditioned by formality and context.

S6: Kind of like to tell you the truth, the N word that ends with E-R and the N word that ends with a we know they’re the same word, but then they’re kind of not the same word. Processes. Processes. Mm hmm. Those two you know, that is probably the only time that you are ever going to hear dinosaurs process Heath and the N word disgust in the same breath.

S1: In any case, everything has to happen once you know what we’re gonna go out on, because I have never used this talk about getting high in the 80s. Let’s do some Rocky Horror. And so let’s go out on a song about movement. Let’s have it be the time warp. And I think we’re gonna use the movie soundtrack because frankly, I never liked the stage recordings. And so it’s just a jump to the left. Your hands on your head.

S21: Here it is nice.

S3: Happy way to go out and thank you to my producer, Aisha Saluda, for helping me to choose that on the spur of the moment. You can reach us at Lexicon Valley at That’s Lexicon Valley at to listen to past shows and subscribe or just to reach out, go to slash Lexicon Valley.

S21: Did you know that Lego is like J.Lo, like Jennifer Lopez? You know, Hustler’s was good. I recommend it. But Lego is like J-Lo. It’s the Danish words which read on the page as leg goat. And that means play well. Did you know that Lego is Leg.? Go to a in Danish. It’s roughly like got something like that, but it looks on the pitch laca. And so that’s what Lego is. I didn’t know that Lego was a J.Lo. Thank you. Diana IDM for that one. In any case, Mike volo is, as always, the editor. And I am, as always, John McWhorter.

S22: Have to jump to the net.

S18: And don’t if.

S1: Rabbit is a word that you almost certainly will find in no other language unless you’re trying to bone up on your late Middle Flemish West Flemish to be specific, and then nothing about rabbit. If you learn another language, one of the first things you have to learn is that the word for rabbit is not going be here. That’s a little a-beta dassk rabbit or anything like that. It’s always some other word and there’s a reason.

S16: And that’s because until about 250 years ago, what you called a rabbit was. Karney A rabbit was Konnie. Now, that makes sense because, you know, you’ve got Spanish called Mahle. It was a nice normal word. And in English it came out as cunty. That’s what a rabbit was. But that wasn’t the only usage of the word KARNEY After awhile. And that’s because Karney as rabbit extended metaphorically to refer to something else. Now this word Kerney was spelled c o n e y was spelled like Koni. But think about honey and money. We don’t call them Honi and Monia. It’s honey money. Well, Connie, OK, so that was the word for rabbit. If you had a conversation with George Washington, he surely would have recognized, oh, look at the carneys running around outside. Go further back at Sir Walter Raleigh. Kearney’s not not rabbits. Nobody said that rabbit was an obscure word for baby rabbit. And how often do you see or even talk about them? But after Connie came to refer to something else and something probably a little more fun for most of us than rabbits, nobody wanted to talk about Connie’s do any more or wearing a cutie skin coat just didn’t quite work. So people brought in rabbit. Now, if you had to say, Connie, for example, there mentioned in the Bible and you know, if you’re gonna be reading from the Bible, the new Pali test said that you pronounced it Koni. And so, for example, yes, it was originally Coney Island. Now, imagine saying that today we say Coney Island instead. But otherwise started saying rabbit. That was the word for baby rabbits that felt better. Now the word for baby rabbit is lever it. If you’ve ever you know, if you remember safari cards from the 70s or something like that. But us saying rabbits do now that in the past would have sounded like somebody today saying, oh, well, let’s have some lever it Stu. It sounds almost barbaric. But what that means is that rabbit is, of all things, a coy euphemism and that his finger mystics lesson for this week.