A Way with Words

Series produced by A Way with Words

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A Way with Words is a national, lively, hour-long public radio show about language, on the air since 1998. Author/journalist Martha Barnette and linguist/lexicographer Grant Barrett take listener calls about slang, grammar, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, and speaking and writing well. There are no carriage fees.

Learn more about the show, its hosts, and its history, and read station and listener testimonials on the A Way with Words website.


194 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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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 g...

Bought by RADIOLEX, WYAP, KTSW 89.9, KHOL (Jackson Hole Community Radio), WSLR and more


  • Added: Sep 19, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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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 ban...

Bought by RADIOLEX, KTSW 89.9, WSLR, KHOL (Jackson Hole Community Radio), WYAP and more


  • Added: Sep 12, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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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...

Bought by RADIOLEX, WYAP, WSLR, KHOL (Jackson Hole Community Radio), KTSW 89.9 and more


  • Added: Sep 05, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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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 explaini...

Bought by WSLR, RADIOLEX, WNIN, WPCA-LP, KHOL (Jackson Hole Community Radio) and more


  • Added: Aug 29, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
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This week on A Way with Words: Language is always evolving, and that's also true for American Sign Language. A century ago, the sign for "telephone...

Bought by RADIOLEX, KTSW 89.9, WYAP, WSLR, KHOL (Jackson Hole Community Radio) and more


  • Added: Aug 22, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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This week on "A Way with Words": When there's no evening meal planned at home, what do you call that scramble to cobble together your own dinner? S...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX, WYAP, WSLR, WNIN and more


  • Added: Aug 15, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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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 coup...

Bought by KVSC, RADIOLEX, KTSW 89.9, WYAP, WSLR and more


  • Added: Aug 08, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
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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 Toot...

Bought by KTXK, WYAP, RADIOLEX, KTSW 89.9, WNIN and more


  • Added: Aug 01, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
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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 psychologica...

Bought by KTXK, WYAP, KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX, KVSC and more


  • Added: Jul 25, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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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 Ridge...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX, WYAP, WNIN, WSLR and more


  • Added: Jul 18, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
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Throwing cheese and shaky cheese are two very different things. In baseball, hard cheese refers to a powerful fastball, and probably comes from a s...

Bought by KTXK, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX, KVSC and more


  • Added: Jul 11, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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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 w...

Bought by KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], KTXK, KTSW 89.9, WYAP, KHOL (Jackson Hole Community Radio) and more


  • Added: Jul 04, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
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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...

Bought by KTXK, WYAP, WNIN, WSLR, WPCA-LP and more


  • Added: Jun 27, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
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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 ...

Bought by RADIOLEX, KTXK, KTSW 89.9, WSLR, KHOL (Jackson Hole Community Radio) and more


  • Added: Jun 20, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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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...

Bought by KNCT FM, WSLR, KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX, KHOL (Jackson Hole Community Radio) and more


  • Added: Jun 13, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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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? W...

Bought by RADIOLEX, KTSW 89.9, WYAP, KNCT FM, WSLR and more


  • Added: Jun 06, 2022
  • Length: 54:30
  • Purchases: 18
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This week on "A Way with Words": If you take up texting and social media late in life, there's a lot to learn! A 20-something wants advice getting ...

Bought by KTXK, KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX, WYAP, WSLR and more


  • Added: May 30, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
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Ever wonder what medieval England looked and sounded like? In Old English, the word hord meant "treasure" and your wordhord was the treasure of wor...

Bought by KTXK, RADIOLEX, KTSW 89.9, WYAP, WSLR and more


  • Added: May 23, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
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Don't move my cheese! It's a phrase middle managers use to talk about adapting to change in the workplace. It comes from a popular 1990s business b...

Bought by KTXK, KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX, WYAP, WSLR and more


  • Added: May 16, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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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 actual...

Bought by KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], RADIOLEX, WYAP, WSLR, WNIN and more


  • Added: May 09, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16