The World of Words & Carnal Knowledge

carnalknowledge.gifGram­mar is in vogue. The sta­tis­tics don’t lie. The Gram­mar Girl (iTunesFeedWeb Site) remains one of the most pop­u­lar pod­casts on iTunes, and The Gram­mar Grater (iTunesFeedWeb Site) is hold­ing its own. From gram­mar, it’s just a short step to words, to ety­mol­o­gy. And, today, we want to high­light Pod­ic­tionary (iTunesFeedSite) for you. It’s a “word-of-the-day” pod­cast that spends an easy three to five min­utes sur­vey­ing the his­to­ry of com­mon words in the Eng­lish lan­guage. (This makes it use­ful for native and non-native speak­ers alike). Its cre­ator, Charles Hodg­son, has so far tack­led over 600 terms, which means that he’s amassed an exten­sive audio archive that you can access here.

And his work on words does­n’t stop there. Hodg­son recent­ly pub­lished a new book called Car­nal Knowl­edge: A Navel Gaz­er’s Dic­tio­nary of Anato­my, Ety­mol­o­gy, and Triv­ia (St. Mar­t­in’s Press). Far from pedan­tic, the book uses engag­ing prose and fun facts to tease out the mean­ing of words we use to describe our bod­ies. The whole body gets cov­ered here, from the “eye” to the “simi­an line” to the “gul­let,” and it goes straight down to the nether regions, too. For more infor­ma­tion, spend some time with the blog that accom­pa­nies the new book.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ten Pod­casts to Build Your Vocab­u­lary

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.