Check out: My segment on the language radio show ‘A Way with Words’

I’m a big fan of the public radio show A Way with Words, produced in San Diego and airing on KPBS radio there & elsewhere (though it’s produced independently).

I listen to it as a podcast! (The show has a Facebook page too.)

In the show, callers ask about weird words they’ve heard or (often) that members of their family use, and hosts Grant and Martha share whatever etymologies and regional histories they can dredge up about that term.

Recently I called in and asked a language question of my own! It is about a thing my mom always says, which is “piffle”. She uses this word in place of a swear word.

Mom, I can feel you preparing to write a response to me right now, and yes, I already told them the thing you are about to tell me, which is that you like the reaction it gets out of people when they hear you say it. It’s all part of the conversation I had on the show!

My call aired on the most recent episode, “Happy as Larry,” from January 20.

If you want to listen to the whole episode, here it is (my segment starts just before minute 40), or, they also have it posted as a separate segment of just my bit.

I could also have asked my mom directly about the origin of her use of the term, but this way, I got to be on a radio show. Mom, you can call in and fill them in with all the details if you like, and I will hear it on some later episode!

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