This is our very last episode of 2023, so we’re telling the story of the final stop in our 26 letter alphabet: here’s where Z came from.
Today in 1906 a vote in Congress put an end to one of President Theodore Roosevelt’s top priorities: simplifying the way we spell words. Or, as he would have preferred, spel wurds.
Amazingly, the English alphabet added its last letter in 1524, and no, that letter wasn't Z. We'll explain how an Italian grammarian convinced the world to add one more letter to the list. Plus: Andoni Bastarrika is a Basque artist who works with sand, but we’re not talking about basic beach sand castles here.
Today's the day in 1828 that Noah Webster went to the copyright office to register his work “An American Dictionary of the English Language.” This work, no pun intended, defined American English as people actually spoke it, but it also included some words that haven't exactly stayed with us. Plus: there are perhaps no words for the mulletty goodness that resulted when a woman in New Zealand tried to cut her hair with a kitchen knife.