A Way with Words - language, linguistics, and callers from all over-logo

A Way with Words - language, linguistics, and callers from all over

PRX

Light-hearted conversation with callers from all over about new words, old sayings, slang, family expressions, and language change and differences, as well as word histories, etymology, linguistics, regional dialects, word games, grammar, books, literature, writing, and more. Listeners of all backgrounds can join author/journalist Martha Barnette and linguist/lexicographer Grant Barrett on the show with their language thoughts, questions, and stories: https://waywordradio.org/contact or words@waywordradio.org. Call any time toll-free 24/7 in the U.S. and Canada 1 (877) 929-9673 or worldwide +1 619 800 4443. Past episodes and show notes: https://waywordradio.org/.

Light-hearted conversation with callers from all over about new words, old sayings, slang, family expressions, and language change and differences, as well as word histories, etymology, linguistics, regional dialects, word games, grammar, books, literature, writing, and more. Listeners of all backgrounds can join author/journalist Martha Barnette and linguist/lexicographer Grant Barrett on the show with their language thoughts, questions, and stories: https://waywordradio.org/contact or words@waywordradio.org. Call any time toll-free 24/7 in the U.S. and Canada 1 (877) 929-9673 or worldwide +1 619 800 4443. Past episodes and show notes: https://waywordradio.org/.

Location:

San Diego, CA

Networks:

PRX

Description:

Light-hearted conversation with callers from all over about new words, old sayings, slang, family expressions, and language change and differences, as well as word histories, etymology, linguistics, regional dialects, word games, grammar, books, literature, writing, and more. Listeners of all backgrounds can join author/journalist Martha Barnette and linguist/lexicographer Grant Barrett on the show with their language thoughts, questions, and stories: https://waywordradio.org/contact or words@waywordradio.org. Call any time toll-free 24/7 in the U.S. and Canada 1 (877) 929-9673 or worldwide +1 619 800 4443. Past episodes and show notes: https://waywordradio.org/.

Twitter:

@wayword

Language:

English

Contact:

Wayword, Inc. P.O. Box 632721 San Diego, CA 92163 1 (877) 929-9673


Episodes

Blue Streak - 15 August 2022

8/15/2022
How long can a newly married woman be called a bride? Does bride apply only as long as her wedding day, or does it extend right on through the couple’s silver anniversary and beyond? Plus, insightful advice about writing from a Pulitzer winner: Observe carefully, find what you’re uniquely qualified to say, and give voice to your own astonishment. And names of minor-league baseball teams are often a playful combination of nearby industries and a formidable animal. For example, where do the...

Duration:00:52:00

Mystery Date (Rebroadcast) - 8 August 2022

8/8/2022
A librarian opens a book and finds a mysterious invitation scribbled on the back of a business card. Another discovers a child's letter to the Tooth Fairy, tucked into a book decades ago. What stories are left untold by these forgotten, makeshift bookmarks? Also: a "cumshaw artist" is the wily member of a military unit who knows the shortcuts of procuring something for all their buddies, whether it's food or a borrowed vehicle for the evening. Plus, a handy Russian saying translates as "the...

Duration:00:51:00

I Don't Have the Spoons - 1 August 2022

8/1/2022
Whether it's a Rubik's cube or a round of Wordle, why do so many of us find puzzles irresistible? A new book celebrates the allure and psychological benefits of brain teasers. Plus, powerful language for talking about the chronic illnesses and invisible disabilities that sap a person's energy and focus. And what would you wear to a wet dress rehearsal? (Hint: You'll need a helmet.) Plus ditloid, eat a peck of dirt before you die, a game to make you sigh, apologizing to fellow drivers, how to...

Duration:00:51:00

Sour Pickle (Rebroadcast) - 25 July 2022

7/25/2022
You know that Yogi Berra quote about how Nobody ever comes here; it's too crowded? Actually, the first person to use this was actress Suzanne Ridgeway, who appeared in several movies with The Three Stooges. A new book shows that many well-known quotes were first spoken by women, but misattributed to more famous men. Also: a handy scientific word that should become mainstream: aliquot. And no, it's not a kind of hybrid fruit. Plus, an astronomical question: What's the collective noun for a...

Duration:00:51:07

Not My Circus (Rebroadcast) - 18 July 2022

7/18/2022
Throwing cheese and shaky cheese are two very different things. In baseball, hard cheese refers to a powerful fastball, and probably comes from a similar-sounding word in Farsi, Urdu, and Hindi. Shaky cheese, on the other hand, is the grated Parmesan cheese you might dispense from can onto pasta. Also, why is a movie preview called a trailer when it comes at the beginning of a film, not the end? And: if you want to say that something's not your responsibility, there's always the handy phrase...

Duration:00:51:00

Excuse the Hogs - 11 July 2022

7/11/2022
When a teenager went a week without talking as part of a school project, he noticed a surprising side effect: Instead of rehearsing a response to what other people were saying to him, he was focused on listening — and feeling smarter as a result. Plus, a flight attendant is irritated by a certain term she has to use frequently with passengers. Might there be a better word than de-plane? And how do you pronounce the name of the Show-Me State? The answers you'll hear are as variable as Midwest...

Duration:00:51:00

Scooter Pooting (Rebroadcast) - 4 July 2022

7/4/2022
Old. Elderly. Senior. Why are we so uncomfortable when we talk about reaching a certain point in life? An 82-year-old seeks a more positive term to describe how she feels about her age. And: a linguist helps solve a famous kidnapping case, using the vocabulary and spelling in a ransom note. Plus, old library books often contain inscriptions and other notes scribbled in the margins. A new book details an effort to reveal and preserve this "shadow archive" of the relationship between readers...

Duration:00:50:58

All That and a Bag of Chips - 27 June 2022

6/27/2022
We tend to take the index of a book for granted, but centuries ago, these helpful lists were viewed with suspicion. Some even worried that indexes would harm reading comprehension! A witty new book tells the story. Plus, the Latin term bona fides was adopted into English to mean “good faith” or “authentic credentials.” But there’s more than one way to pronounce it. And: say you’re off at summer camp, and there’s a container in the dining hall labeled ort bucket. What will you find if you...

Duration:00:51:57

Gold Dance (Rebroadcast) - 20 June 2022

6/20/2022
People who hunt treasure with metal detectors have a lingo all their own. Canslaw means the shreds of aluminum cans left after a lawnmower ran over them. And gold dance? That's the happy jig you do if you find something far more valuable than an old can. Plus, a splendid new dictionary offers an in-depth look at the rich language of Southern Appalachia, from parts of West Virginia to Georgia. And why do television announcers greet viewers with the phrase "welcome back" after a commercial...

Duration:00:51:29

By a Long Shot (Rebroadcast) - 13 June 2022

6/13/2022
Imagine telling someone how to get to your home, but without using the name of your street, or any other street within 10 miles. Could you do it? We take street names for granted, but these words are useful for far more, like applying for a job or bank loan -- and they're a powerful record of who and what we value. Plus, a third-grader asks why the first episode of a TV series is often called "Pilot." And: the story of the word "dashboard," from muddy roads to computer screens. All that,...

Duration:00:51:00

Familiar Strangers - 6 June 2022

6/6/2022
If you take up texting and social media late in life, there’s a lot to learn! A twenty-something wants advice getting her dad up to speed on memes, Instagram, and animated images. Plus, when you’re on a long road trip, what do you call that one driver you keep passing on the freeway, or who sets the pace for your car mile after mile? Road buddy? Some call them Follow Johns. Plus, the linguistic reason why some people say “SANG-wich” instead of “SAND-wich.” It’s a mouthful — literally! And:...

Duration:00:51:00

Word Hoard - 30 May 2022

5/30/2022
Ever wonder what medieval England looked and sounded like? In Old English, the word hord meant “treasure” and your wordhord was the treasure of words locked up inside you. A delightful new book uses the language of that period to create a vivid look at everyday life. Plus, a shotgun house is long and narrow with no hallway — just one room leading into the next. It’s an architectural style with a long history stretching from Africa to Haiti and into the American South. And: say you...

Duration:00:51:00

When Pigs Fly (Rebroadcast) - 23 May 2022

5/23/2022
Don’t move my cheese! It’s a phrase middle managers use to talk about adapting to change in the workplace. Plus, the origin story of the name William, and why it’s Guillermo in Spanish. And a five-year-old poses a question that puzzles a lot of people: Why is the letter Q so often followed by a U? All that, and adynaton, an assonant quiz, do it up brown, salt of the earth, haven’t grown gills yet, wooling, a silly joke about the number one, a poem about regret, and hide-and-seek calls, such...

Duration:00:51:43

Cool Beans (Rebroadcast) - 16 May 2022

5/16/2022
If you speak a second or third language, you may remember the first time you dreamed in that new tongue. But does this milestone mean you’re actually fluent? And a couple’s dispute over the word regret: Say you wish you’d been able to meet Albert Einstein. Can you regret that the two of you never met, or is there a better word for a situation over which you have no control? Can the word regret include simply longing for something? Plus, a sixth-grader wonders about a weird word on her...

Duration:00:51:00

You Talk Like a Sausage - 9 May 2022

5/9/2022
Do you refer to your dog or cat as “somebody”? As in: When you love somebody that much, you don’t mind if they slobber. In other words, is your pet a somebody or a something? Also, for centuries, there was little consistency in the way many English words were spelled. But long before the printing press helped to standardize spelling, powerful historical forces were already shaping how those words looked on the page. Plus, Irish words that are as handy as they are fun to say: bockety, which...

Duration:00:51:43

Love Bites (Rebroadcast) - 2 May 2022

5/2/2022
The word filibuster has a long and colorful history, going back to the days when pirates roamed the high seas. Today it refers to hijacking a piece of legislation. Plus, the language of yoga teachers: When doing a guided meditation, you may hear your instructor speaking in a kind of continuous present, with phrases like sitting comfortably and breathing deeply instead of simple imperatives to sit comfortably and breathe deeply. These are participles with a purpose, and linguists have a term...

Duration:00:51:00

Pushing the Envelope - 25 April 2022

4/25/2022
Sure, there’s winter, spring, summer, and fall. But the seasons in between have even more poetic names. In Alaska, greenup describes a sudden, dramatic burst of green after a long, dark winter. And there are many, many terms for a cold snap that follows the first taste of spring: blackberry winter, redbud winter, onion snow, and whippoorwill storm, to name a few. Plus, the family that plays trivia games at home may end up cheering for their teen in high-school competitions. Also, playful...

Duration:00:51:00

Lasagna Hog (Rebroadcast) - 18 April 2022

4/18/2022
Understanding the varieties of conversational styles can mean the difference between feeling you’re understood and being insulted. “High-involvement” speakers interrupt or talk along with someone else to signal their enthusiasm, while “high-considerateness” speakers tend more toward thoughtful pauses and polite turn-taking. Adjusting your speaking style accordingly may improve not only your communication, but also your relationships. Plus, when you read a text message from someone, does it...

Duration:00:51:29

Primary Colors - 11 April 2022

4/11/2022
Centuries ago, monks who took a vow of silence developed their own hand signs, with hundreds of gestures, that are still in use today. Plus, how do speakers of different languages distinguish similar shades and tints of colors such as red, yellow, and blue? It’s complicated! And: you don’t really need those little rivets on your blue jeans, do you? There’s a word for decorative elements that no longer serve a practical purpose: skeuomorphs. All that, along with butter of antimony, vein vs....

Duration:00:51:00

Kiss the Cow (Rebroadcast) - 4 April 2022

4/4/2022
An anadrome is a word that forms a whole new word when you spell it backwards. For example, the word “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts.” Some people’s first names are anadromes. There’s the girl named Noel in honor of her father Leon, and the woman named Edna who adopted the name Ande. Speaking of names, know anybody whose occupation fits their name? Maybe a college administrator named Dean, or a breadmaker named Baker? Well, there’s a name for that concept: nominative determinism....

Duration:00:50:59