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Language Mysteries Explained In 'Alphabet Juice'

Humorist and author Roy Blount Jr. is a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel. In <em>Alphabet Juice</em>, he reflects on "letters, words and combinations thereof ... with examples of their usage foul and savory."
Humorist and author Roy Blount Jr. is a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel. In <em>Alphabet Juice</em>, he reflects on "letters, words and combinations thereof ... with examples of their usage foul and savory."

Why do pigs oink in English and chrjo in Russian? What does the word ma ma have to do with the word mammal? In his new book, Alphabet Juice, humorist and author Roy Blount Jr. traces the origins of everyday words and how they have changed over time.

Blount is an essayist and a regular panelist on the NPR news quiz show, Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me!. His recent books include Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South and Feet on the Street: Rambles Around New Orleans.

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