A Way With Words on RADIO IQ & RADIO IQ With BBC News

Saturdays at 7:00 pm on RADIO IQ.
Martha Barnette, Grant Barrett
Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette

A Way With Words is a weekly, hour-long, national, caller-based program about language. Author Martha Barnette and lexicographer Grant Barrett take calls about slang, grammar, linguistic heirlooms, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, and speaking and writing well.

By looking at the world through the lens of language, A Way With Words offers a brand-new perspective on politics, pop culture, history, sports, music, science, literature, and foreign cultures.

Funny, informative, and fast-paced, each hour-long episode includes a word puzzle and slang quiz. 

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Program Headlines

  • Saturday, January 17, 2015 11:52am
    Sure, it’s scary to send your writing to a literary agent. But pity the poor agent who must wade through hundreds of terrible query letters a week! One of them shares excerpts from those hilariously bad query letters on a blog called SlushPile Hell. And get ready for some colorful conversation: Purple cows do exist–only [...]
  • Saturday, January 10, 2015 11:36am
    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, like ratchet and dime piece. And the story of a writer who published her [...]
  • Saturday, January 3, 2015 11:34am
    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 eat beef and not cow. And how old is the typical public-library patron? Plus, in Afghanistan, proverbs are part of everyday conversation — like the one about how every proud porcupine [...]
  • Saturday, December 27, 2014 1:25pm
    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 think the word awesome is overused, why Comic Sans is a font almost universally [...]
  • Sunday, December 21, 2014 9:04am
    Dear friends and listeners, As we near the end of our biggest year yet, we must raise $75,000 before 11:59 PM, December 31st. Reaching that goal will mean covering fixed costs: Broadcast studio rental. A sound engineer and board operator. Website hosting. Podcast hosting. The toll-free phone line. Episode distribution through the Public Radio Satellite [...]