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Author Roy Blount Jr. (Getty Images)

Language Mysteries Explained In 'Alphabet Juice'

Oct 22, 2008 (Talk of the Nation)

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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.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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