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A Walk Spoiled But Our Lie is Good

Step right up! It's another newsletter from "A Way with Words."

This week we talked about unusual ways foreigners learn English, "play golf" vs. "go golfing," lie vs. lay, similes, "yo!," "neck of the woods," "warsh," and more. Listen:


Martha has produced an electrifying podcast about how experiments with dead frogs and live wires led to the invention of the battery and inspired a couple of familiar English words.


"Shakespell" looks like fun: a Yorkshire family's spelling game with dice. Portable, costs five quid. Neat.



Pianos, jerks, even trolls--everything has a "whisperer" now. Mark Peters writes in the Boston Globe:

"Besides a seemingly endless roster of self-described animal whisperers--really, a tarantula whisperer?--there's now the MBA Whisperer, an online consultant who helps applicants get into business school; the Relationship Whisperer, an author and dispenser of dating and marriage advice; the Startup Whisperer, who mentors new entrepreneurs; the Jerk Whisperer, a teacher of workplace communication; and the Sales Whisperer, who promises 'money, prestige, achievement, and success.' The Potty Whisperer and the Plot Whisperer unclog blocked toddlers and writers."


Breon Mitchell, director of the Lilly Library at Indiana University, has collected more than 2,000 dictionaries of exotic languages.


What words do you hate? More than 770 people have answered so far.


The two of us? We love all words though some get a few more hugs than others.

Best wishes,

Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

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Further reading

Funny Papers (episode #1601)

There are word nerds, and then there’s the woman who set up a folding chair on sidewalks throughout the country, cheerfully dispensing tips...

Go Bananas (episode #1600)

A caller wonders if she’s being hypersensitive about the way her boss addresses her in emails. Can the use of an employee’s first name...

Följa John

Say you’re on a long road trip. Do you have a term for another driver who happens to be traveling the same direction and sets the pace for your car...