475 episodes

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/.

A Way with Words - language, linguistics, and callers from all over Hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett. Produced by Stefanie Levine.

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 1.8K Ratings

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/.

    Gold Dance (Rebroadcast) - 20 June 2022

    Gold Dance (Rebroadcast) - 20 June 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 break? Weren't they the ones who went away? Plus, coinball, bacon bats, Katzensprung, quote unquote vs. quote end quote, a quiz about synonyms, joke tags, dials and smiles, low sick, took a dump, get out of my bathtub!, and more.
    Read full show notes, hear hundreds of free episodes, send your thoughts and questions, and learn more on the A Way with Words website: https://waywordradio.org/contact. Be a part of the show: call 1 (877) 929-9673 toll-free in the United States and Canada; worldwide, call or text/SMS +1 (619) 800-4443. Email words@waywordradio.org. Twitter @wayword. Copyright Wayword, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation.
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    • 53 min
    By a Long Shot (Rebroadcast) - 13 June 2022

    By a Long Shot (Rebroadcast) - 13 June 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, plus nanomoon, not by a long shot vs. not by a long chalk, layoes to catch meddlers, proc, don't buy the hype, do it for the hywl, and a cheesy quiz flecked with puns.
    Read full show notes, hear hundreds of free episodes, send your thoughts and questions, and learn more on the A Way with Words website: https://waywordradio.org/contact. Be a part of the show: call 1 (877) 929-9673 toll-free in the United States and Canada; worldwide, call or text/SMS +1 (619) 800-4443. Email words@waywordradio.org. Twitter @wayword. Copyright Wayword, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation.
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    • 53 min
    Familiar Strangers - 6 June 2022

    Familiar Strangers - 6 June 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: thalweg, stick season, quare, jimmycane, the many Spanish words that derive from the Nahuatl language, camera and camaraderie, cada chango en su mecate, a puzzle all about the letter E, the connection between dollar and Neanderthal, umarell, and menos burros, más elotes.
    Read full show notes, hear hundreds of free episodes, send your thoughts and questions, and learn more on the A Way with Words website: https://waywordradio.org/contact. Be a part of the show: call 1 (877) 929-9673 toll-free in the United States and Canada; worldwide, call or text/SMS +1 (619) 800-4443. Email words@waywordradio.org. Twitter @wayword. Copyright Wayword, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation.
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    • 53 min
    Word Hoard - 30 May 2022

    Word Hoard - 30 May 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 accidentally cut someone off in traffic, and you know it’s your fault. What’s a quick, clear way to communicate that you’re sorry? NO texting allowed! All that, and feaking, feather merchant, gradoo, spondulicks, echar un zorrito, tocayo and cueto, a take-off quiz, and an onomatopoeic Old English word for “sneeze.”
    Read full show notes, hear hundreds of free episodes, send your thoughts and questions, and learn more on the A Way with Words website: https://waywordradio.org/contact. Be a part of the show: call 1 (877) 929-9673 toll-free in the United States and Canada; worldwide, call or text/SMS +1 (619) 800-4443. Email words@waywordradio.org. Twitter @wayword. Copyright Wayword, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation.
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    • 53 min
    When Pigs Fly - 23 May 2022

    When Pigs Fly - 23 May 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 as Ole Ole Olson all in free!
    Read full show notes, hear hundreds of free episodes, send your thoughts and questions, and learn more on the A Way with Words website: https://waywordradio.org/contact. Be a part of the show: call 1 (877) 929-9673 toll-free in the United States and Canada; worldwide, call or text/SMS +1 (619) 800-4443. Email words@waywordradio.org. Twitter @wayword. Copyright Wayword, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation.
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    • 53 min
    Cool Beans (Rebroadcast) - 16 May 2022

    Cool Beans (Rebroadcast) - 16 May 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 spelling bee study list. It’s spelled X-Y-L-Y-L — and it’s not just for Scrabble players. Plus, hot as flugens, to play Box and Cox, twack and twoc, a quiz for canine lovers, an eloquent appreciation of libraries, a widow’s moving thank-you note, a punny gardening joke, a funny newspaper correction, a trick with a hole in it, and lots more. Cool beans!
    Read full show notes, hear hundreds of free episodes, send your thoughts and questions, and learn more on the A Way with Words website: https://waywordradio.org/contact. Be a part of the show: call 1 (877) 929-9673 toll-free in the United States and Canada; worldwide, call or text/SMS +1 (619) 800-4443. Email words@waywordradio.org. Twitter @wayword. Copyright Wayword, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation.
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    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1.8K Ratings

1.8K Ratings

LynnaLeigh ,

Loved it then, even better now

My first love of the show came from NPR, but these days I mostly listen to podcasts and had gotten away from the radio version. I heard Grant and Martha on a food broadcast and was reminded of how great they are, so one quick search and they’re back in my world! Such a fun, unique, smart way to learn more about our endlessly fascinating use of language.

Rex Stout ,

Just Great Fun

Don’t want to miss a single episode. Always thought-provoking ideas about our language.

TSL Sr ,

Best podcast for a road trip

We listen to this every time we take a trip. It is so interesting, before we know it we are at our destination - smarter than when we started.

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