Roy Blount Jr. on words, their sounds and their meanings

“Eww” argues Roy Blount Jr., is the universal sound of disgust. So how does that affect our reaction to words that contain that sound, like “cutie” and “beautiful?”

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Author Roy Blount Jr.

(Photo courtesy Joan Griswald)

Blount’s recent talk at the Hennepin County library is filled with such questions and interesting tidbits, which break words down into their component parts.

The humorist and word lover talks about everything from Mark Twain’s friendship with Helen Keller (brought about by the sound “MMM”), to stepping on a friend’s hamster and how the experience revealed so much about the word “squelch.”

Midday recently rebroadcast Blount’s talk, which you can listen to by clicking on the audio link below.

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