A light-hearted radio show and podcast about language examined through family, history, and culture, revealing human connections across eras, generations, cultures, and languages.
It includes language change, debates, and differences, as well as new words, old sayings, slang, family expressions, word histories, etymology, linguistics, regional dialects, word games, grammar, books, literature, writing, and more.
The show is upbeat, lively, conversational, fresh, contemporary. It’s a positive, information-based look at what is really happening with all aspects of modern language and communication, using anecdotes, culture, relationships, and families as starting points.
There’s a lot of first-hand, primary research and professional language experience that informs the dialogue. It’s of high value to native and non-native speakers alike, including ESL and ELT teachers and students. The show is not a couple of cobwebbed school-marms giving lectures. There’s almost no chiding, tsk-tsking, or finger-wagging.
The radio show has grown from 12 stations in four states in 2007 to more than 330 transmitters in 42 states today. Four new markets were added in 2021. The podcast listenership has expanded accordingly.
Like the public radio audience overall, "A Way with Words" listeners are upscale, educated, and influential in their communities. Adding in the podcast listeners, the show's listeners overall are:
Well-educated. More likely to have a post-graduate degree, with accompanying high income. More likely to be professionals. Life-long learners.
Adults, especially young adults. Investment-minded. More likely to own a second home. More likely to have disposable income.
Worldly. More likely to vacation abroad. Enjoy learning foreign languages, buying foreign cars.
News consumers. Highly engaged with current events, read the news online daily.
Well-read. Book-buyers who read everything from mysteries to biographies and history, and buy books as gifts for their children.
Discerning gift givers. Buy gifts of electronics for friends and family.
Politically active. Enjoy discussion and debate. More likely to vote and more likely to work as volunteers.
Physically active. More likely to go backpacking or hiking. Sports-minded, and spend money on pastimes that challenge them.
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About the Host
Host Name: Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett
Host Residence Country: United States
Co-host/co-producer Martha Barnette is the author of reader-friendly books on word origins. She has a background in ancient Greek and Latin, studied Spanish in Costa Rica, and worked as a newspaper reporter for major metropolitan dailies. Raised in the South, she now lives in San Diego, where she’s often found hiking mountain trails and performing with an improv comedy troupe.
Co-host/co-producer Grant Barrett (he/him) is an American lexicographer and linguist specializing in slang and new words. He has helped produce dozens of dictionaries. He’s a voracious reader, speaks a bit of French and Spanish, and spent years working in the jargon-rich jungles of information technology. Though born and raised in Missouri, and having been a long-time resident of New York City, Grant now lives in San Diego, California, with his wife, also a linguist and lexicographer, and their young son.