This American Life

822: The Words to Say It

Jan. 28, 2024

What it means to have words—and to lose them.

  • Prologue: Sometimes we don’t want to say what’s going on because putting it into words would make it real. At other times, words don’t seem to capture the weight of what we want to say. Susanna Fogel talks about her friend Margaret Riley, who died earlier this week. (6 minutes)
  • Act One: The story of a woman from Gaza City who ran out of words. Seventy-two days into the war, Youmna stopped talking. (27 minutes)
  • Act Two: For years there was a word that Val’s mother did not want to use. Val sets out to figure out why. (22 minutes)

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