Hello, everybody! Welcome to another newsletter from the A Way with Words crew.

Grant is hunkered down in 17-degree weather in New York, Martha is hang-gliding in the Sierras, and the quiz guys aren't sure how to leave the house, even if they wanted to.

On this past weekend's show, Martha and Grant talked about family words, that special lexicon shared among parents, children, and siblings. It's usually connected to inside jokes and shared history and is, therefore, highly mystifying to outsiders. We also talked about "knocked up," "titled" vs. "entitled," and somebody wanted to know if there was a better expression to use in place of "Indian giver." Listen here:


If you want to read about more family words, check out Paul Dickson's book, "Family Words: A Dictionary of the Secret Language of Families."


Also, here's an interesting 2002 article about family words from the language quarterly "Verbatim":


In conjunction with The Golden Pencil, a web site devoted to freelance writing and writers, over the last couple of weeks we tried to come up with a better tag line for A Way with Words.


Despite the many entries, there was nothing that really clicked for us. Many flattering things were said, for which we thank you, but a few too many of you thought variations on "cunning linguist" would win the day. Uh, no.

We'll keep it as "Public radio's lively language show" for now, but we'll continue to welcome your suggestions.

Anyway, thanks to Anne at The Golden Pencil for her help!

Your obedient servants,

Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

Tagged with →  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.