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A Way with Words
A Way with Words
language, linguistics, and callers from all over
A Way with Words is a fun and funny radio show and podcast about language. Co-hosts Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett talk with callers from around the world about linguistics, slang, new words, jokes, riddles, word games, grammar, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, books, literature, folklore, and speaking and writing well. Email your language questions for the show to Or call with your questions toll-free *any* time in the U.S. and Canada at (877) 929-9673. From anywhere in the world: +1 (619) 800-4443. Hear all past shows for free:...
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Ratings & Reviews
4.6 stars from 1,975 ratings
Fun, educational, interesting
Grant & Martha are brilliant in their ability to find word and phrase origins and provide explanations that are clear and accurate while also being entertaining. I really appreciate the way they embrace all dialects as worthy and correct variants of formal language. I save up episodes to...Read full review »
Doglover131 via Apple Podcasts · United States of America · 05/19/21
Glad I found the podcast!
My local NPR station doesn’t play A Way With Words, so I was very happy to find the podcast! Although the catalogue doesn’t go as far back as I’d like, I was just happy to get as many episodes as are up. I love hearing the family sayings and just learning about language.
Luna669 via Apple Podcasts · United States of America · 04/19/21
So much goodness!
Etymology, and language in general, has always fascinated me! I love to hear Martha & John break things down (or build them up) with their enthusiasm and well researched responses.
JaymieLynne via Apple Podcasts · United States of America · 02/25/21
Recent Episodes
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 book featuring a fable about mice and tiny humans inside a maze and how they respond when their chewy food source is relocated. Plus, the origin story...
Published 06/14/21
You may have a favorite word in English, but what about your favorite in another language? The Spanish term ojala is especially handy for expressing hopefulness and derives from Arabic for "God willing." In Trinidad, if you want to ask friends to hang out with you, invite them to go liming....
Published 06/07/21
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...
Published 05/31/21
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