Hello, friends —

Good news! Our mini-podcast with Will Shortz is now on the “A Way with Words” site. Will created this quiz about anagrams and slang just for AWWW listeners. Give it a try:


On to this week’s show: spoonerisms, funny collective plant names (“a mommy of poppies”), how Shakespeare’s plays sounded in his day, “further” vs. “farther,” and the connection between runny noses and “lamb’s legs”:


We’re in a New York state of mind this week, especially after seeing this New York Times article about New Yorkers trying to “unlearn” the way they talk. The video shows how tough it can be to lose one’s accent.


Speaking of video, if you missed the one of the preschooler reciting long poems by Billy Collins, you’re in for a treat:


“Geek the Library” is a cool new campaign promoting the nation’s public libraries. Over at Visual Thesaurus, Ben Zimmer muses about this odd use of “geek” as a transitive verb.


More about how you can help libraries by letting your geek flag fly:


BEHIND THE SCENES: With Thanksgiving approaching, we just want to say how thankful we are to have you with us here at “A Way with Words.”

Whether you’re listening, or phoning with questions, or emailing us a story from your own life, or discussing something on the show with others, you’re the reason we do what we do.

We’re immensely grateful to be invited into your homes, cars, and earbuds, and we value your partnership in our goals of promoting lifelong learning and connecting people through thoughtful, informed conversation about language.

Thanks again, and happy Thanksgiving!

Martha and Grant

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