Martha Barnette is co-host of the public-radio show A Way with Words, heard each week by listeners in 300 cities across North America, and worldwide by podcast. The show’s about words and how we use them — word and phrase origins, slang, regional dialects, writing well, books and reading, and that weird thing Grandma used to say.
Martha holds an undergraduate degree in English from Vassar College, and did graduate work in classical languages at the University of Kentucky. She studied Spanish in Costa Rica at the ILISA Language Institute.
Before her work in radio, Martha was a reporter for the Washington Post and an editorial writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal. She’s the author of three books on word origins: A Garden of Words, Ladyfingers & Nun’s Tummies: A Lighthearted Look at How Foods Got Their Names, and Dog Days & Dandelions. She’s often quoted in the news media about language topics.
Martha joined A Way with Words in 2004. She’s president of Wayword, Inc., the 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit that produces and distributes the program with support from listeners and underwriters. She holds a Certificate in Fund Raising Management (CFRM) from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
A Kentucky native, she lives in San Diego, where she can be found hiking mountain trails and performing improv comedy. She’s also co-founder of San Diego Republic, a clothing company that celebrates pandas (yes, pandas!) and her adopted hometown.
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