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The Language of Less Than Three

Whoever wrote “The Book of Love” neglected to include the handy emoticon <3, which looks like a heart if you turn your head sideways. Grant and Martha talk about how that bit of affectionate shorthand can function as a verb, and about...

Squeejawed Red-heads and Grockles

In this week’s episode: Just how far back could you go and still understand the English people were speaking? We crank up our trusty time machine to find out. Hint: You’d probably have a tough time getting around in the eighth century...

Tweet, Tweet! Polly Wanna Cracker!

Twittering, tweeting, twirting—it’s rare to see a whole new body of language appear right before your eyes. But that’s what’s happening with Twitter. We discuss the snappy new shorthand of the twitterati. Also, why do people feel...

L-U-R-V-E, Love

Favorite online reading. If the subjunctive tense were to disappear from English, would anybody care? And just in time for this romantic weekend, a caller discovers the meaning of…lurve. That’s L-U-R-V-E.

Once Upon a Time

Are fairy tales too scary for children? A survey of parents in Britain found that more than half wouldn’t read them to their children before age five. Martha and Grant discuss the grisly imagery in fairy tales, and whether they’re too...

Will The Rain Hurt The Rhubarb?

Stand back! Farther back! It's another newsletter from "A Way with Words." A brand-new episode hit the airwaves this weekend, in which we took a look at some of the coinages on Barack Obama's name, and at...