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February 04, 2010

Language Lovers and Word Nerds

If you are intrigued by word histories and the sometimes contradictory usage of common words, do I have a treat for you.

Check out A Way With Words. You can find them at...

... http://www.waywordradio.org/about/.

Hosts Martha Barnette and dictionary editor Grant Barrett take calls about slang, grammar, obscure sayings, word origins, regional dialects, arcane expressions, speaking and writing well and anything else any listener may be puzzled about.

Among other books, Martha is the author of three books on word origins, including Ladyfingers & Nun’s Tummies: A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Name.

Grant Barrett is an American lexicographer and dictionary editor specializing in slang and new words. Among many other things, He serves as vice president of the American Dialect Society, an academic organization devoted to the study of English in North America. He is also editor of “Among the New Words” column of the society’s journal American Speech, head of its new words committee and a member of the journal’s editorial board, and helps organize the society’s annual “word of the year” vote.

Besides listening (on the radio or online) you can subscribe to their email newsletter http://www.waywordradio.org/discussion/inside-the-radio-show-1/ and revel in such linguistic oddities as "Aliens Abducted Me–But Refuse to Pay My Overdue Book Fees" ""Ingressive Voiced Uvular Fricative" is Very Funny" or "Serial Commas and Postal Abbreviations Make Sunshine Together".

For anyone who loves to poke around in the odd and forgotten corners of the English language this is the place to find your niche.

To listen, submit a question or download an episode click here http://www.waywordradio.org/listen/.

They also feature an exhaustive list of resources try http://www.waywordradio.org/resources/. You can browse dictionaries, pronunciation guides, style and grammar guides, blogs, language sites and who knows what else.

Feel free to ask them about any aspect of language, pronunciation, grammar or word usage. They will charm you as much as they inform you . And yes, tell them I sent you.

English can be very awkward and misleading, so tread carefully as you make your way through this new (and old) language.

It is good to remember that we are all always learning. And it is always more fun to learn together.

Let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.

Posted by mmorf at February 4, 2010 10:40 AM

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