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, language change and varieties, as well as word histories, linguistics, regional dialects, word games, grammar, books, literature, writing, and more. You can join author/journalist Martha Barnette and linguist/lexicographer Grant Barrett on the show with your language thoughts, questions, and stories: https://waywordradio.org/contact or words@waywordradio.org. In the US 🇺🇸 and Canada 🇨🇦, call 1 (877) 929-9673 toll-free 24/7. In the UK 🇬🇧, 020 3286 5677. In México 🇲🇽, 55 8421 8567. WhatsApp, 16198004443. Leave a message! From everywhere, call +1 (619) 800-4443. Past episodes, show notes, topic search, and more: https://waywordradio.org. A Way with Words is listener-supported! https://waywordradio.org/donate ❤️

Light-hearted conversation with callers from all over about new words, old sayings, slang, family expressions, language change and varieties, as well as word histories, linguistics, regional dialects, word games, grammar, books, literature, writing, and more. You can join author/journalist Martha Barnette and linguist/lexicographer Grant Barrett on the show with your language thoughts, questions, and stories: https://waywordradio.org/contact or words@waywordradio.org. In the US 🇺🇸 and Canada 🇨🇦, call 1 (877) 929-9673 toll-free 24/7. In the UK 🇬🇧, 020 3286 5677. In México 🇲🇽, 55 8421 8567. WhatsApp, 16198004443. Leave a message! From everywhere, call +1 (619) 800-4443. Past episodes, show notes, topic search, and more: https://waywordradio.org. A Way with Words is listener-supported! https://waywordradio.org/donate ❤️

Location:

San Diego, CA

Networks:

PRX

Description:

Light-hearted conversation with callers from all over about new words, old sayings, slang, family expressions, language change and varieties, as well as word histories, linguistics, regional dialects, word games, grammar, books, literature, writing, and more. You can join author/journalist Martha Barnette and linguist/lexicographer Grant Barrett on the show with your language thoughts, questions, and stories: https://waywordradio.org/contact or words@waywordradio.org. In the US 🇺🇸 and Canada 🇨🇦, call 1 (877) 929-9673 toll-free 24/7. In the UK 🇬🇧, 020 3286 5677. In México 🇲🇽, 55 8421 8567. WhatsApp, 16198004443. Leave a message! From everywhere, call +1 (619) 800-4443. Past episodes, show notes, topic search, and more: https://waywordradio.org. A Way with Words is listener-supported! https://waywordradio.org/donate ❤️

Twitter:

@wayword

Language:

English

Contact:

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


Episodes

Salad Days (Rebroadcast) - 3 October 2022

10/3/2022
A documentary film called My Beautiful Stutter follows youngsters at a summer camp specifically for stutterers. It's a place for finding acceptance, support, and confidence for navigating the larger world. And:, "The High Priestess of Soul," Nina Simone, was one of the most beguiling performers of all time. A beautiful new picture book for children tells her inspiring story. Plus: burritos! Why do those savory stuffed tortillas have a name that literally translates as "little donkey"? Also,...

Duration:00:51:30

Funny Papers - 26 September 2022

9/26/2022
There are word nerds, and then there’s the woman who set up a folding chair on sidewalks throughout the country, cheerfully dispensing tips about grammar. She recounts her adventures in a new book. And the story of the brilliant pioneer of computing language whose name lives on in a familiar term. Plus, when you get a new haircut, beware of anyone yelling Rinktums! Noogies may follow! Also, slobgollion and slumgullion, comb graves, tearing up Jack, paging Dr. Armstrong, a brain teaser about...

Duration:00:51:55

Your Imaginary Boyfriend (Rebroadcast) - 19 September 2022

9/19/2022
We use the term Milky Way for that glowing arc across the sky. But how people picture it varies from culture to culture. In Sweden, that starry band goes by a name that means "Winter Street," and in Hawaii, a term for the Milky Way translates as "fish jumping in shadows." And: the history of naming rooms in a house. Some old houses have a room off the kitchen with only a sink and cabinets. It's not a kitchen, exactly — but what's it called? Plus, the colorful flag of one European town...

Duration:00:51:00

Go Bananas - 12 September 2022

9/12/2022
A caller wonders if she’s being hypersensitive about the way her boss addresses her in emails. Can the use of an employee’s first name ever reflect a power differential? And: a community choir director wants a term for “the act of gathering to sing for the pure joy of it, without ever preparing for a performance.” For her, the word rehearsal doesn’t really fit. Plus, what’s so funny about bananas, anyway? Why do we say That’s bananas!? Also glacial erratic, a Swahili riddle, defenestration,...

Duration:00:50:59

Beefed It (Rebroadcast) - 5 September 2022

9/5/2022
The words tough, through, and dough all end in O-U-G-H. So why don't they rhyme? A lively new book addresses the many quirks of English by explaining the history of words and phrases. And: have you ever been in a situation where a group makes a decision to do something, only to discover later that no one really wanted to do that thing in the first place? There's a term for that! Plus, the sounds we make when we're simply passing the time or waiting a few seconds for something to happen. It...

Duration:00:50:59

What in Tarnation - 29 August 2022

8/29/2022
Language is always evolving, and that’s also true for American Sign Language. A century ago, the sign for “telephone” was one fist below your mouth and the other at your ear, as if you’re holding an old-fashioned candlestick phone. Now you can sign “phone” with a one-handed gesture. Plus, colorful restaurant slang from the hit TV show The Bear inspires a quiz about the language of the kitchen. And looking for a new way to say “It’s hot outside”? How about “It’s glorgy [GLOR-ghee] out there!”...

Duration:00:51:51

Forty Eleven Zillion (Rebroadcast) - 22 August 2022

8/22/2022
When there's no evening meal planned at home, what do you call that scramble to cobble together your own dinner? Some people apply acronyms like YOYO — "you're on your own" — or CORN, for "Clean Out your Refrigerator Night." Plus, when a barista hands you hot coffee in a paper cup, you may get a zarf to put it in — but what is that? And, the ongoing search for an alternative to the term senior citizen, and lots more. Read full show notes, hear hundreds of free episodes, send your thoughts...

Duration:00:51:30

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