Word Maven

Arts and Culture
3:08 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

The Scary Language of Halloween

Halloween can almost generate a dictionary of its own.

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River to River: From the Archives
1:56 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Fascination with the Idea of "Apocalypse"

Des Moines' Fourth Annual "Zombie Walk"
Emily Woodbury

Many of this year’s blockbusters, video games, and books are set in post-apocalyptic worlds - a growing trend in the past few years.

Today on River To River, we take a look at why this is such a common theme. Host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowans who are prepared to face an apocalyptic scenario, and he sits down with an Iowa Homeland Security representative, to find out how prepared the state of Iowa is for disaster.

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Culture
2:48 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

"Grand Slam" Language Session: Baseball Terminology with Patricia O'Connor

Scott McLeod

Beanball, bender, bleeder, brushback, bull pen… baseball has a language all its own. Today on Talk of Iowa, English language expert Patricia O’Conner "plays ball." Host Charity Nebbe talks to O'Connor about baseball lingo and, of course, she answers your language questions.

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Talk of Iowa
11:11 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Word Maven: Echoic Words

Deb Stgo / Flickr

Boom, shimmy, giggle, squeak… these words are called echoic words, words whose sound echo what they stand for. Host Charity Nebbe talks with English language expert Patricia O’Conner about these and other onomatopes that belong to the English language.

Arts & Culture
11:22 am
Thu August 2, 2012

The Word Maven

Words like tornado and Derecho fascinate and frighten and they both have surprising histories. Charity talks with English language expert Patricia O’Connor who looks at  the origins of weather related words.  Patricia answers all questions that relate to the English language.

Talk of Iowa
11:24 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Word Maven: Money Words

For the past five years, we've been talking more about money than ever before.  From the 2007 Global Financial Crisis, to the recent mammoth loss at J.P. Morgan Chase, the language of finance seems to occupy more of our brain space.  Today, Charity speaks to our "Word Maven," Patricia O'Conner about the origins and changing use of such terms as "buck," "salary," "credit," "two bits," and many more.  O'Conner is the author of popular word books including "Origins of the Specious," "Woe is I," and "Words Fail Me."