TagOral communication

Voilà vs. Walla

Voilà (not spelled wallah or vwala or walla) is a good example of a borrowed word. Though French for “there it is,” Americans often use it as a simple utterance, akin to presto or ta-da. This is part of a complete episode.

Not My Forte

Is it worth using proper pronunciation if it makes you sound ignorant or misinformed? Contrary to the common understanding, the word forte is actually pronounced “fort.” Grant describes forte as a skunked word; it’s a losing...

Speaking vs. Talking

If you’re having a conversation with someone, are you speaking with them, speaking to them, talking to them, or talking with them? A caller wonders what differences, if any, exist among all those expressions. This is part of a complete episode.

Love Joe Floggers? So Don’t I! (minicast)

Time to solve another linguistic mystery. You’re in a restaurant. You overhear a conversation at the next table. The woman says to her friend, “You know, I just love the taste of joe floggers.” And her dining companion replies...

Dust Bunnies and Ghost Turds

Here's another newsletter from A Way with Words! Who calls baby platypuses "puggles"? Who calls a playground slide a "sliding pond"? Who calls dust bunnies "slut's wool"? You can find out on the brand-new...


Is English is going to hell in the proverbial handbasket? A Wisconsin grandmother thinks so, particularly because of all the ums and you knows she hears in everyday speech. The hosts discuss these so-called disfluencies, including how to avoid them...

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