A Way With Words
Hector's Pup - 13 April 201504/13/15
This week on "A Way with Words": Sharing a secret language. Did you ever speak in gibberish with a childhood pal, adding extra syllables to words so the adults couldn't understand what you were saying? Such wordplay isn't just for kids--and it's not...
Jumped Up Bald-Headed (Rebroadcast) - 6 April 2015
What do your pronouns say about your own psychological makeup? If you use the word I a lot, does it mean you're a leader . . . or a follower? A surprising study suggests that people of lower status in a group tend to use I the most. Also, a look at...
I'll Be Your Boo (Rebroadcast) - 30 March 2015
This week on "A Way with Words": It's the language of Wisconsin: If you're nibbling on slippery Jims or sipping sweet soup, chances are you're in the Badger State. Also, the famous abolitionist whose name became an exclamation. And how to respond if...
Eat the Grindstone - 23 March 2015
The books we love as children may influence our careers more than we realize. As a child, Martha was fascinated with stories of cracking codes, and Grant loved books with glossaries--not that far from the kind of work they do today. A caller named...
Pickle Seeder - 16 March 2015
This week on "A Way with Words": Constructing imaginary languages and deconstructing the lingo of Hollywood. For example, would you rather live in a world with no adjectives . . . or no verbs--and why? Also, who in the world is that terrible director...
Green Eyed Monster - 9 March 2015
This week on "A Way with Words": We often hear that English is going to hell in a handbasket. Actually, though, linguistic handwringing about sinking standards and sloppy speech has been going on for centuries--at least as far back as the 1300's! And:...
Blind Tiger - 2 March 2015
This week on "A Way with Words": The best way to read poetry. When you pick up a book of poems, how many do you read in one sitting? Some people devour several in a row, while others savor them much more slowly. Plus, it's a problem faced by...
Idiom's Delight - 23 February 2015
This week on "A Way with Words": What's in a name? A recent study found that some names crop up more frequently than others in certain professions. The name William is especially common among attorneys--and graphic designers include a...
Whistle Britches - 16 February 2015
This week on "A Way with Words: Writers and where they do their best creative work. A new book on Geoffrey Chaucer describes the dark, noisy, smelly room where he wrote his early work. Which raises the question: What kind of space DO you need to...
Noon Balloon to Rangoon - 9 February 2015
This week on "A Way with Words," tricks and tips for writers: Is there a word you keep having to look up in the dictionary, no matter how many times you've looked it up before? Maybe it's time for a mnemonic device. And: a listener shares a letter...
Above Your Raisin - 2 February 2015
This week on "A Way with Words," slang online and jargon in the workplace: There's a new kind of hamburger menu that involves pixels, not pickles. It's that little stack of horizontal lines in the corner of a webpage that you click to see more...
Monkey's Wedding (Rebroadcast) - 26 January 2015
It's the art of constructive feedback: If you're a teacher with a mountain of papers to grade, you may find yourself puzzling over which kinds of notes in the margins work best. Martha and Grant discuss strategies for effective paper-grading. And when...
Writerly Insults (Rebroadcast) - 19 January 2015
A query letter from SlushPile Hell, the blog of a curmudgeonly literary agent, reads, "Have you ever wished you had represented the author of the Holy Bible and placed it with a publisher?" Erm, sure. The exclamation Fiddlesticks!, meaning "a trifle"...
Mr. Can't Died (Rebroadcast) - 12 January 2015
This week on "A Way with Words": You pick up what you think a glass of water and take a sip, but it turns out to be Sprite. What's the word for that sensation when you're expecting one thing and taste something else? Also, slang from college campuses,...
Drop A Dime (Rebroadcast) - 5 January 2015
This week on "A Way with Words": Why call it a doggy bag when it's really for your husband? This week on "A Way with Words": Why call it a doggy bag when it's really for your husband? Grant and Martha talk about the language of leftovers and why we...
That Old-Book Smell (Rebroadcast) - 29 December 2014
This week on "A Way with Words": You walk into a used bookstore, or pull down an old volume at the library, and there it is: The smell of old books. If you detect notes of vanilla in that intoxicating scent, there's a reason. Also, why some people...
Catch My Fade - 22 December 2014
This week on "A Way with Words," reaching out in the digital age: If you're sending out party invitations, what's a sure-fire way to get hold of everyone? Email? Snailmail? Facebook? Texting? Twitter? Or a plain old-fashioned phone call? Different...
An Urgent Need from A Way with Words
Give Now!http://waywordradio.org/donate Dear friends and listeners,As we near the end of our biggest year yet, we must raise $75,000 to cover the remainder of this season. We need your help to reach that amount before December 31st.Reaching that goal...
Buckle Down - 15 December 2014
This week on "A Way with Words": 'Tis the season for book recommendations! Martha's enjoying an armchair tour of important places in the history of our language, and Grant recommends relaxing with books that make great reading for both children and...
Curse of Knowledge
This week on "A Way with Words," it's all about terms of endearment: If your loved one is far away for a long time, you're probably tired of just saying "I miss you" over and over. For variety's sake, there are some creative alternatives to that...
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