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

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

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