Anatoly Liberman on the origin of familiar words and phrases

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Is there a word or phrase that you grew up with, something you felt was unique to your family? Maybe it was an expression your parents or grandparents used to show affection or describe frustration, only to eventually discover it had foreign origins? Or perhaps you still wonder where it came from?

Borrowed words have flooded most languages, including English. 

Friday, Anatoly Liberman, etymologist and professor of languages at the University of Minnesota, joined MPR News host Kerri Miller to talk about the origin of words or phrases that have been passed down over generations.


  • Anatoly Liberman is a linguist and professor of languages at the University of Minnesota. 

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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