What does "twittering away to itself" mean? Does it mean that the radio is twittering and the sound generated by the radio is outward from it?

White hair endows you with the demeanour of a friendly witch. Our geriatric radio – a wedding-present from my brother – is twittering away to itself. I’m about to knock on the glass, but your laptop screen glows into life: and suddenly here’s our son’s hazy face, bringing you news from across the ocean.

(Excerpted from David Mitchell's novel The Gardener.)

1 Answer 1


As I perceive it, the sentence means that the radio is emitting sounds (twittering away), but nobody is actually or really listening to it, so that the radio twitters away to itself, instead of doing it for other people.

  • can it imply the radio have fun for itself?
    – Lincoln
    Aug 21, 2013 at 1:01
  • @GodelSaint. According to the OALD, the verb "to twitter" means to talk quickly in a high excited voice, especially about something that is not very important; "having fun" is not implied, even though you wouldn't use this verb if you were to communicate something very serious or tragic.
    – Paola
    Aug 21, 2013 at 11:15
  • 1
    in the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary[oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/twitter?q=to+twitter], there is no explaintions about "twitter away to", but as you said before, the radio twitters to itself , so actually we can imagine the radio have fun for itself like a human being.
    – Lincoln
    Aug 22, 2013 at 1:08

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