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.


189 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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A wingnut is a handy, stabilizing piece of hardware. So why is it a pejorative term for those of a certain political persuasion? Also, is there som...

Bought by Tri States Public Radio, KQRU FM LP, KVSC, KTSW 89.9, WYAP and more


  • Added: Mar 12, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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When you had sleepovers as a child, what did you call the makeshift beds you made on the floor? In some places, you call those bedclothes and blank...

Bought by Tri States Public Radio, KQRU FM LP, KTSW 89.9, WYAP, WEZU and more


  • Added: Mar 04, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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The words we choose can change attitudes--and change lives. A swing-dance instructor has switched to gender-neutral language when teaching couples....

Bought by Tri States Public Radio, KQRU FM LP, KTSW 89.9, WYAP, WEZU and more


  • Added: Feb 26, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
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Jacuzzi and silhouette are eponyms – that is, they derive from the names of people. An Italian immigrant to California invented the bubbly hot tub ...

Bought by Tri States Public Radio, KQRU FM LP, KTSW 89.9, WYAP, WEZU and more


  • Added: Feb 18, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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The emotional appeal of handwriting and the emotional reveal of animal phrases. Should children be taught cursive writing in school, or is their ti...

Bought by WSLR, Tri States Public Radio, KQRU FM LP, KTSW 89.9, WRIR and more


  • Added: Feb 12, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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If you speak both German and Spanish, you may find yourself reaching for a German word instead of a Spanish one, and vice versa. This puzzling expe...

Bought by Tri States Public Radio, KQRU FM LP, KTSW 89.9, KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WYAP and more


  • Added: Feb 04, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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Chances are you recognize the expressions Judgment Day and the root of all evil as phrases from the Bible. There are many others, though, some of w...

Bought by Tri States Public Radio, KQRU FM LP, KTSW 89.9, WRIR, KNVC Carson City Community Radio and more


  • Added: Jan 29, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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The anatomy of effective prose, and the poetry of anatomy. Ever wonder what it'd be like to audit a class taught by a famous writer? A graduate stu...

Bought by Tri States Public Radio, KQRU FM LP, KTSW 89.9, WSLR, KNVC Carson City Community Radio and more


  • Added: Jan 21, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
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Our youngest listeners have questions about everything from love to one of their favorite foods. Kids ask why we might end a text with the letters ...

Bought by KQRU FM LP, Tri States Public Radio, KMXT, 90.1 WFYI Public Radio, KXCR and more


  • Added: Aug 30, 2017
  • Length: 29:45
  • Purchases: 8