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W.F. Strong

September 22, 2021

Texas And The Art Of Understatement

Yes, everything may be bigger in Texas. And Texans are used to being pegged as exaggerators -- the tellers of tall tales like Pecos Bill who roped tornadoes and shot stars from the sky. But Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong says a characteristic of Texas conversation that doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves is the frequent use of understatement.

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September 8, 2021

Words That Migrated

I showed a friend of mine a picture of me sitting at the edge of a thin ridge jutting out, about 300 feet above the Pecos River. He said, "I can't look at that, it gives me the willies." Oh, yes, the willies, goosebumps and shiverings triggered by our phobias.  As an amateur linguist, I'm always wondering where certain expressions come from. How did the words end up as common words in English? The willies, for instance, has a fascinating derivation. Frontiersmen, you see, used to wear wool undergarments, but as they were made of wool, they often got itchy…

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August 12, 2021

The Texas Olympics

The Olympics -- as we were all just reminded -- are a fantastic display of athleticism of all sorts. For many of us, watching the games is a reminder of just how we could never do that thing that we're watching other people do. But watching got commentator W-F Strong thinking there's quite a lot Texans seem to be pretty good at. And he thinks maybe there should be a competition that would be open to all while taking advantage of our state's unique geography.

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About

“Stories from Texas” are written and recorded by W.F. Strong for the Texas Standard radio program. They are edited for broadcast by Texas Standard producers.

W.F. Strong

W.F. Strong is a professor of culture and communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is a Fulbright scholar and author of the book “Stories From Texas: Some Of Them Are True.”

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