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. Send a voice note or question via WhatsApp, 16198004443. 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. Send a voice note or question via WhatsApp, 16198004443. 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. Send a voice note or question via WhatsApp, 16198004443. 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

You Talk Like a Sausage (Rebroadcast) - 23 January 2023

1/22/2023
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:00:53:45

Old College Try - 16 January 2023

1/16/2023
In just seconds, online text generators and chatbots can produce whole paragraphs of sophisticated prose. But what do advances in artificial intelligence mean for writers? What is lost and what's gained when machine-writing replaces the work humans have always struggled to produce? Plus, the story behind the phrase the old college try. It goes back to the early days of baseball! And: a clever poem to get you through the long winter months. Also, have beef, cut your water off, a brain teaser...

Duration:00:51:47

Pushing the Envelope (Rebroadcast) - 9 January 2023

1/9/2023
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:00:51:08

Primary Colors (Rebroadcast) - 2 January 2023

1/2/2023
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:00:51:35

Deep-Fried Air (Rebroadcast) - 26 December 2022

12/27/2022
Eels, orts, and Wordle! Sweden awarded its most prestigious literary award to a book about . . . eels. The Book of Eels reveals the mysterious life cycle of this sea creature and its significance for famous figures from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud. Plus, what's an ort? It's the last bit of food left on a dinner plate -- and whether or not you finish it can be a matter of manners. Also, an audio puzzle inspired by the popular game Wordle. Harder than it sounds! Plus ginnels, twittens, nerds,...

Duration:00:51:26

Stub Your Toe - 19 December 2022

12/19/2022
Advice about college essays from the winner of a top prize for children’s literature: Kelly Barnhill encourages teens to write about experiences that are uniquely their own, from a point of view that is theirs and no one else’s. Plus, why do we say that someone who’s fortunate has the luck of the Irish? And the latest edition of the Official Scrabble Dictionary will liven up your game! Now you can rack up points with words pranayama, fauxhawk, and even embiggen. Also, knockin’ dog, a word...

Duration:00:51:30

Big Bang - 12 December 2022

12/12/2022
A savory Sicilian sausage roll is always a hit for the holidays. This dish goes by a long list of names that are equally delicious to say. Plus, why are those promotional quotes you see on the back of a book called blurbs? The guy who coined the word also wrote that familiar poem about being a purple cow. And, book recommendations: a sweet story about childhood in postwar London, a recent novel by a longtime prison inmate, and a theoretical physicist’s memoir about growing up in Albania, and...

Duration:00:52:56

East Overshoe (Rebroadcast) - 5 December 2022

12/5/2022
Some people work hard to lose their accent in order to fit in. Others may be homesick for the voices they grew up with and try to reclaim them. How can you regain your old accent? Also, a compelling book about scientific taxonomy shows how humans use language to try to divide up and impose order on the word. And Uff-dah!is an expressive word that means "Gee whiz!" or "Oy vey!" It's also handy when lifting heavy objects. Plus, pigloos, pine shatters vs. pine needles, channel fever, a quiz...

Duration:00:51:25

Snookums and Snicklefritz - 28 November 2022

11/28/2022
A new book about how animals perceive their environment reveals immense worlds beyond our own. A bee can see ultraviolet light, catfish have taste buds all over their bodies, and manatees use highly sensitive lips to examine nearby objects. Also, what’s the relationship between romantic novels and Romance languages? Plus, sometimes buying gingerbread isn’t just about the baked goods. In one part of the United States, buying gingerbread has to do with voter fraud! And snickelfritz,...

Duration:00:50:59

Herd of Turtles (Rebroadcast) - 21 November 2022

11/21/2022
Some college students are using the word loyalty as a synonym for monogamy. Are the meanings of these words now shifting? Plus, a biologist discovers a new species of bat, then names it after a poet he admires. Also, warm memories of how a childhood library card becomes a passport to new worlds. And: for a spell vs. cast a spell, thaw vs. unthaw, twice-cooked cabbage, a brain teaser in celebration of the great Stephen Sondheim, Dankie op’n plankie, right as rain, a turd of hurtles, a...

Duration:00:52:26

If Grandma Had Wheels - 14 November 2022

11/14/2022
While compiling the Oxford English Dictionary, lexicographer James Murray exchanged hundreds of letters a week with authors, advisors, and volunteer researchers. A new collection online lets you eavesdrop on discussions about which words should be in the dictionary and why — including words that might offend Victorian sensibilities. Also why are some words more pleasurable to say than others? And: the German saying that means "If Grandma had wheels, she'd be a bus." Did something get lost in...

Duration:00:51:58

Mittens in Moonlight (Rebroadcast) - 7 November 2022

11/7/2022
Need a slang term that can replace just about any noun? Try chumpie. If you're from Philadelphia, you may already know this handy placeholder word. And there's Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, and … The Bronx — why do we add the definite article to the name of that New York borough? The answer lies in the area's geography and local family lore. Plus, an Australian bullfrog that sounds like a banjo called a pobblebonk. Also: get the pips, down your Sunday throat, jubous, dinor vs....

Duration:00:53:45

Diamond Dust (Rebroadcast) - 31 October 2022

10/31/2022
Diamond dust, tapioca snow, and sugar icebergs — a 1955 glossary of arctic and subarctic terms describes the environment in ways that sound poetic. And a mom says her son is dating someone who's non-binary. She supports their relationship, but still struggles to use their preferred pronouns in a way that feels natural to her. Plus, A Way with Words is a show about language, right? How the word "right" contains a multitude of meanings. And: echar un coyotito, voluntold, autological words,...

Duration:00:53:45

Sleepy Winks (Rebroadcast) - 24 October 2022

10/24/2022
It was a dark and stormy night. So begins the long and increasingly convoluted prose of Edwards Bulwer-Lytton’s best-known novel. Today the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest asks contestants for fanciful first sentences that are similarly convoluted and over-the-top — often with hilarious results. Plus: George Orwell’s prescient novel 1984 gave us the terrifying image of Big Brother and helped popularize words like doublespeak and Orwellian. And is there a word for fallen snow while leaves still...

Duration:00:53:45

Touch Grass - 17 October 2022

10/17/2022
High school students in Alabama share some favorite slang terms. If someone tells you to touch grass, they’re telling you to get a reality check — but the last thing you’d actually want to touch is dog water! Also, the history of the word hangover, and the many names, in several languages, for the effects of drinking too much alcohol. Plus, Do you smell what I’m stepping in? If you do, that means you’re following what someone is saying to you. And Erin vs. Aaron, bloodynoun, cute little...

Duration:00:53:45

Made from Scratch (Rebroadcast) - 10 October 2022

10/10/2022
Enthusiastic book recommendations! Martha's savoring the biography of Alexander von Humboldt, the 19th-century explorer, polymath, and naturalist who revolutionized our understanding of nature and predicted the effects of human activity on climate. Grant's enjoying A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, about how the study of DNA is rewriting our understanding of history itself. And a customer is startled when a salesperson waves goodbye with a friendly Preesh! Is Preesh really a word...

Duration:00:53:45

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