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 "eavesdropping," "bye week," the "parson's nose," and what to call your child's in-laws. Press play here:

http://waywordradio.org/will-the-rain-hurt-the-rhubarb/

Let's go straight to the news reader:

Patrick James has a question-and-answer column with the makers of "The Linguists," a documentary about two fellows who travel the world hunting down dying languages. The documentary will be broadcast February 26 on PBS.

http://www.good.is/?p=14717

Contributors to the Canadian blog "Torontoist" spent more than six months scouring Toronto to assemble a collection of more than sixty shops and businesses with the best punny names. Maybe your town can do better than "Hi Fi Fo Fum" for a music components store?

http://torontoist.com/2009/01/the_great_torontoist_pun_hunt.php

Craig Conley guest-posts at Neatorama about the process of compiling "Magic Words: A Dictionary." He writes, "Magic words aren't just for stage performers or superstitious folks. They're powerful language tools, like blueprints for constructing reality. With magic words, we define a sacred arena where miracles can come into play. [Magicians are] making something out of nothing, echoing that famous line from Genesis: 'Let there be light, and there was light.'"

http://www.neatorama.com/2009/01/14/magic-words-a-dictionary/

Mark Peters looks at the language innovations of the new "Battlestar Galactica":

http://www.good.is/?p=14736

How many M's are there in the sound “hmmm”? How many R's are there in the sound “arrgh”?

http://osteele.com/words/hmmm

http://osteele.com/words/aargh

Finally, Grant will be leading a class about the names of wines and cheeses this Friday, January 23, at Murray's Cheese on Bleecker Street in New York City. There's a fee, but it includes lots of cheese and wine samples. Skip dinner!

http://www.murrayscheese.com/edu_class.asp?number=CHEESECOURSE012309

Best wishes,

Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

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