454 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/.

    Mudlarking

    Mudlarking

    Twice a day the River Thames recedes, revealing a muddy shoreline. Hobbyists known as mudlarks stroll the surface searching for objects that have found their way into the river over the centuries, everything from ancient Roman jewelry to modern wedding rings. A new book about mudlarking describes the irresistible appeal of searching for treasures and the stories behind them. Also, why do performers whisper the phrase toi, toi, toi to wish each other well backstage before a show? And, what’s the plural of octopus? Octopuses? Octopi? Something else? Plus, schniddles vs. schnibbles, visiting vs. talking, fotched a heave, creature comforts, trade-last, a timely pangram, Doves Type, a brain teaser about malapropisms, 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
    Diamond Dust

    Diamond Dust

    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, stay interview, eyesights and farsees, a brain-busting quiz about hidden words, nieve penitente, cutting cots, and rhyming ways to say a casual goodbye in other languages, like the Dutch one that translates as “Bye, umbrella!”
    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
    Sleepy Winks

    Sleepy Winks

    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 remain on the trees? Also: motor vs. engine, capitol vs. capital, wannabe vs. wannabee, scrape acquaintance, a quiz about words that link other words, Tutivillis, skell gel, complementary alternation discourse constructions, and words for “eye boogers” in Hungarian, French, German, Portuguese, Turkish, Scots, and English.

    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
    Snaggletooth

    Snaggletooth

    Many of us struggled with the Old English poem “Beowulf” in high school. But what if you could actually hear “Beowulf” in the English of today? There’s a new translation by Maria Dahvana Headley that uses contemporary language and even internet slang to create a fresh take on this centuries-old poem — right down to addressing the reader as Bro! Also, what’s a word for feeling desperately lonely, but also comfortable in your solitude? And: the story of the word nickname. Plus laundry list, snaggletooth, breakfast, desayuno, circus lingo, gaffle, a search-engine brain teaser, hogo, logomachy, Waldeinsamkeit, and a book about book burning that’s bound in asbestos!

    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/. Email words@waywordradio.org. Twitter @wayword. Our listener phone line 1 (877) 929-9673 is toll-free in the United States and Canada. Elsewhere in the world, call +1 (619) 800-4443; charges may apply. From anywhere, text/SMS +1 (619) 567-9673. Copyright Wayword, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation.
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    • 53 min
    Like a Boiled Owl

    Like a Boiled Owl

    What’s it like to hike the Pacific Crest Trail all the way from Mexico to Canada? You’ll end up with sore muscles and blisters, and great stories to tell. Along the way, you’ll also pick up some slang, like NoBo, SoBo, Yo-yo and Hike Naked Day, an annual event that’s pretty much what it sounds like. Plus, which came first, the color orange or the fruit? And if you have a pain in the pinny, what part of your body hurts? Also, a brain-busting puzzle, qualtaagh, media naranja, tougher than a boiled owl, zero day, nero day, trail names, how to pronounce caramel, not a Scooby Doo, a cloud of whale dust, and lots 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
    Your Two Cents

    Your Two Cents

    Astronauts returning from space say they experience what's called the overview effect, a new understanding of the fragility of our planet and our need to reflect on what humans all share as a species. A book about the end of the universe offers a similar change in perspective — along with some fascinating language. Plus, different names for a delicious drink: one part lemonade, one part sweet tea. A famous golfer loved it. And why do we say that's my two cents after offering an opinion? Would it be better to say that's my one cent? Also, GUTs vs. TOEs, how to pronounce buoy, pore over vs. pour over, wally, a surprising pronunciation of prestige, piker, is all, a brain-teaser about orphan syllables, 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 2021 Wayword, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation.
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    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1.8K Ratings

1.8K Ratings

bws7 ,

My favorite word junkies

This podcast is more fun and interesting than it might sound. Not only are they stunningly knowledgeable,they have elegant, almost old-fashioned, manners. No word or phrase is too trivial for them to obsess over. As a fellow word junkie I appreciate the thrill of tracking down every obscure reference. I appreciate the idea of spending hours, and perhaps a quick trip to the next county, to squeeze every nuance from a phrase that hasn’t been used for 150 years. I love it

WoodfordSki ,

A Fun Way to Learn about Language

Something for all ages and backgrounds.

HelenAtChateau ,

You always make me laugh

Martha and Grant, I hope you never stop!

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