show episodes
 
Light-hearted conversation with callers from all over about new words, old sayings, slang, family expressions, language change and varieties, as well as word histories, linguistics, regional dialects, word games, grammar, books, literature, writing, and more. You can join author/journalist Martha Barnette and linguist/lexicographer Grant Barrett on the show with your language thoughts, questions, and stories: https://waywordradio.org/contact or words@waywordradio.org. In the US 🇺🇸 and Canada ...
 
Public radio's game show of bluff and bluster, words and whimsy. The warmest, wittiest cocktail party - it's spirited and civil, brainy and boisterous, peppered with musical interludes. Fast paced and playful, it's the most fun you can have with language without getting your mouth washed out with soap. Our motto: It's not important to know the answers, it's important to like the answers!
 
Hosts Brian Kathenes and Leon Castner will entertain you with their witty and thorough knowledge of everything that you can put a price tag on. From furniture to autographs, coins to stamps, the list is endless! Plus, test your knowledge with the Value This stumper and Leon's quote of the week. Call 1-877-41-VALUE to be part of Public Radio's most exciting show.
 
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show series
 
From the stage at Workplay in Birmingham, AL with host Richard Sher Stereo Left: Carolyn Faye Fox, Arnie Reisman, Paula Lyons Stereo Right: Tony Kahn, Francine Achbar, Murray Horwitz Music: Blue Galaxy String Project Rounds Played: Round 1: New-Speak Round 2: Bluff (crine) Round 3: Hair Today, Groom Tomorrow Round 4: Bluff (min-min) Round 5: Mascot…
 
A new book about how animals perceive their environment reveals immense worlds beyond our own. A bee can see ultraviolet light, catfish have taste buds all over their bodies, and manatees use highly sensitive lips to examine nearby objects. Also, what’s the relationship between romantic novels and Romance languages? Plus, sometimes buying gingerbre…
 
From 1 Longfellow Square in Portland, ME with host Richard Sher Stereo Left: Carolyn Faye Fox, Arnie Reisman, Lenore Shannon Stereo Right: Tony Kahn, Francine Achbar, Murray Horwitz Music: The Feral Cats Rounds Played: Round 1: Addenda Round 2: Bluff (sweb) Round 3: Senior Spelling Bee Round 4: Bluff (daunch) Spotlight Round: Op-Erratic Round 5: Un…
 
Some college students are using the word loyalty as a synonym for monogamy. Are the meanings of these words now shifting? Plus, a biologist discovers a new species of bat, then names it after a poet he admires. Also, warm memories of how a childhood library card becomes a passport to new worlds. And: for a spell vs. cast a spell, thaw vs. unthaw, t…
 
From 1 Longfellow Square in Portland, ME with host Richard Sher Stereo Left: Carolyn Faye Fox, Arnie Reisman, Lenore Shannon Stereo Right: Tony Kahn, Francine Achbar, Murray Horwitz Music: The Feral Cats Rounds Played: Round 1: Definitions and Derivations Round 2: Bluff (cruft) Round 3: Addictionary Round 4: Bluff (theic) Round 5: Final Phrases…
 
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Music Strength of a Young Man by Vernon Field Wave I by Elori Saxl Rearranging Furniture from Gabriel Yared’s score to By the Sea Falling Forever and Ever by Ricky Eat Acid Muff Gets a Share from Joel P West’s score to Band of Robbers Notes By far the most fun I had researching this was re…
 
While compiling the Oxford English Dictionary, lexicographer James Murray exchanged hundreds of letters a week with authors, advisors, and volunteer researchers. A new collection online lets you eavesdrop on discussions about which words should be in the dictionary and why — including words that might offend Victorian sensibilities. Also why are so…
 
Need a slang term that can replace just about any noun? Try chumpie. If you're from Philadelphia, you may already know this handy placeholder word. And there's Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, and … The Bronx — why do we add the definite article to the name of that New York borough? The answer lies in the area's geography and local famil…
 
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…
 
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 t…
 
From Town Hall Seattle in Seattle, WA with host Richard Sher Stereo Left: Carolyn Faye Fox, Arnie Reisman, Paul Magid Stereo Right: Tony Kahn, Francine Achbar, Barry Nolan Music: Garfield High School String Quartet Rounds Played: Round 1: Odd Man Out Round 2: Bluff (chack) Round 3: Author & Works by Characters Round 4: Bluff (boffin) Round 5: Move …
 
From Town Hall Seattle in Seattle, WA with host Richard Sher Stereo Left: Carolyn Faye Fox, Arnie Reisman, Paul Magid Stereo Right: Tony Kahn, Francine Achbar, Barry Nolan Music: Garfield High School String Quartet Rounds Played: Round 1: What's the Difference? Round 2: Bluff (clour) Round 3: New Coinage Round 4: Bluff (bic) Round 5: Name that Tune…
 
High school students in Alabama share some favorite slang terms. If someone tells you to touch grass, they’re telling you to get a reality check — but the last thing you’d actually want to touch is dog water! Also, the history of the word hangover, and the many names, in several languages, for the effects of drinking too much alcohol. Plus, Do you …
 
Enthusiastic book recommendations! Martha's savoring the biography of Alexander von Humboldt, the 19th-century explorer, polymath, and naturalist who revolutionized our understanding of nature and predicted the effects of human activity on climate. Grant's enjoying A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, about how the study of DNA is rewriting …
 
A documentary film called My Beautiful Stutter follows youngsters at a summer camp specifically for stutterers. It's a place for finding acceptance, support, and confidence for navigating the larger world. And:, "The High Priestess of Soul," Nina Simone, was one of the most beguiling performers of all time. A beautiful new picture book for children…
 
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Music Sunset Village by Group Listening Winter Memory by Dark Dark Dark Pretty in Plums by Shida Shihabi With a little bit of The Crumbling by Valgeir Sigurossen Afternoon in Paris by the incomparable John Lewis Abstrutions from Max Roach And Herbert’s Story from Mark Orton’s score to Nebr…
 
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 grammar. She recounts her adventures in a new book. And the story of the brilliant pioneer of computing language whose name lives on in a familiar term. Plus, when you get a new haircut, beware of anyone …
 
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 band goes by a name that means "Winter Street," and in Hawaii, a term for the Milky Way translates as "fish jumping in shadows." And: the history of naming rooms in a house. Some old houses have a room off …
 
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