She Has A Way With Words

LA MESA -- You may know what LOL means, but what about AFAIK or SALU2? You can be sure Martha Barnette, co-host of the public-radio show, “A Way with Words,” knows.

Barnette, who began her radio career in 2004, promises laughs along with learning at a Grossmont College event from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in Building 26, Room 220. The event is free and open to the public.

“I'll discuss words and their meanings, particularly as they relate to philosophy, and talk about some surprising research on how electronic communication is changing the way we speak, write and think,” Barnette said. “I love speaking to community colleges, and plan to leave plenty of time for Q&A, because that's often the most fun.”

Barnette worked as a reporter for the Washington Post and an editorial writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal before beginning her career in radio. She is a graduate of Vassar College with an A.B. in English, and she did graduate work in classical languages at the University of Kentucky. She also studied Spanish in Costa Rica.

She wrote three books on the origins of words, “A Garden of Words,” “Ladyfingers & Nun’s Tummies: A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Names” and “Dog Days & Dandelions.” Barnette performs with the improv comedy troupe “Outside the Lines.”

Barnette and her co-host, Grant Barrett, tell listeners in more than 230 cities across North America and around the world by podcast about the origins of “whistling Dixie” or “how to knock a tater in the head.” They discuss slang, regional dialects and the weird things your grandmother used to say on the weekly program, “A Way with Words.”

The program is independently produced by Wayword, Inc., an educational nonprofit organization based in San Diego.

Grossmont College is located at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon. For driving directions and a campus map, visit “campus information” at

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Tags: A Way With Words, Grossmont College, KPBS, La Mesa Today, La Mesa newspaper, Martha Barnett


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