Best Linguistics podcasts — In-depth discussions on the study of language (Updated July 2018; image)
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The Allusionist
Monthly
 
Linguistic adventures with Helen Zaltzman, TheAllusionist.org. A proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
 
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Lexicon Valley
Monthly+
 
Lexicon Valley is a podcast about language, from pet peeves, syntax, and etymology to neurolinguistics and the death of languages. Hosted by linguist John McWhorter.
 
A fun weekly radio show about language seen through culture, history, and family. Co-hosts Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett talk with callers who have questions and stories about linguistics, old sayings, word histories, etymology, regional dialects, slang, new words, word play, word games, grammar, family expressions, books, literature, writing, and more. Email your language questions to words@waywordradio.org or call with your questions toll-free *any* time in the U.S. and Canada at 1 (87 ...
 
Learning a new language? Get your language learning questions answered by polyglot Olly Richards, who speaks 8 languages and runs the popular blog - I Will Teach You A Language. Whatever's holding you back on the path to fluency, tune in twice a week to get your regular dose of language learning motivation, with Olly and other polyglot guests, such as Luca Lampariello, Richard Simcott, Alex Rawlings, Benny Lewis, Anthony Metivier and Jonathan Levi. Learn Spanish, Learn French, Learn German, ...
 
The Spoken History of a Global Language
 
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Word of Mouth
Monthly
 
Series exploring the world of words and the ways in which we use them
 
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The World in Words
Monthly+
 
The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its linguistic cohesion? Why are Chinese tech words so inventive? Why does Icelandic have so many cool swearwords? Patrick Cox and Nina Porzucki bring you stories from the world’s linguistic frontlines. Also at pri.org/language
 
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Talk the Talk
Monthly+
 
A weekly show about linguistics, the science of language, on RTRFM 92.1 community radio, Perth.
 
A podcast that's enthusiastic about linguistics by Gretchen McCulloch (All Things Linguistic) and Lauren Gawne (Superlinguo). A weird and deep conversation about language delivered right to your ears the third Thursday of every month. Bonus episodes: www.patreon.com/lingthusiasmShownotes: www.lingthusiasm.com
 
Speculative Grammarian—the premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics—is now available as an arbitrarily irregular audio podcast. Our podcast includes readings of articles from our journal, the occasional musical number or dramatical piece, and our talk show, Language Made Difficult. Language Made Difficult is hosted by the SpecGram LingNerds, and features our signature linguistics quiz—Lies, Damned Lies, and Linguistics—along with some discu ...
 
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Conlangery Podcast
Monthly
 
The podcast about constructed languages
 
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Words for Granted
Monthly+
 
Words for Granted is a podcast that looks at how words change over time. Host Ray Belli uses language--more specifically, individual words--as a way of making connections among history, culture, religion, and society.
 
Podcast by LSA 2017
 
This podcast is designed to inspire language teaching and learning. Tune in for book reviews, interviews with inspiring teachers, best practice ideas, linguistic facts, musings on current events and crazy language learning stories. For more information, visit www.languagefuel.com
 
Have you ever taken a language class? Have you taken a language class that teaches you how to say "I want to work at the United Nations" before "can you pass me the salt?" We're working to fix that. Critical Language Mentor has scoured the internet to find the best resources out there to help you learn languages better. We specialize in critical, less-commonly taught languages, like Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Persian and want to help you learn better.Visit us on the web at criticallanguage ...
 
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show series
 
The game of baseball has always inspired colorful commentary. Sometimes that means using familiar words in unfamiliar ways. The word "stuff," for example, can refer to a pitcher's repertoire, or to the spin on a ball, or what happens to the ball after a batter hits it. Also: nostalgia for summer evenings and fond terms for fireflies, plus a wor ...…
 
When linguists think about complicated words, we don’t think about rare, two-dollar words like “defenestration”. Instead, we think about the kinds of words that you use all the time without even thinking about it, like “the”. You might not already know that defenestration refers to throwing something out of a window, but once you find out, it’s ...…
 
The word "the" is the sole definite article in the English language. It's also the most common word in our language. However, for such a grammatically fundamental word, its history isn't as straightforward as one might think. Old English had a whopping twenty different forms of the definite article, all of which collapsed into the single, versa ...…
 
Ron asks: "What's the best way to learn verb conjugations?" In Today's Episode: Here are what are the big-picture principles for learning and memorising verb conjugations in Spanish or any other language: Make sure you're getting lots of exposure through listening and reading - learning verb conjugations ultimately will come down to whether you ...…
 
Brand names, children's games, and the etiquette of phone conversations. Those clever plastic PEZ dispensers come in all shapes and sizes -- but where did the word PEZ come from? The popular candy's name is the product of wordplay involving the German word for "peppermint." Also, the story behind that sing-songy playground taunt: "Neener, neene ...…
 
John McWhorter raises an etymological glass to the nonagenarian Oxford English Dictionary. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more abo ...…
 
When does a word's past make it too sensitive to use in the present? In contra dancing, there's a particular move that dancers traditionally call a gypsy. But there's a growing recognition that many people find the term gypsy offensive. A group of contra dancers is debating whether to drop that term. Plus, the surprising story behind why we use ...…
 
In this crossover episode, Steve and I discuss the linguistic influence of the King James Bible and some common English idioms that have Biblical etymologies.
 
Have you ever offered to foster a dog or cat, but wound up adopting instead? There's an alliterative term for that. And when you're on the job, do niceties like "Yes, ma'am" and "No, sir" make you sound too formal? Not if it comes naturally. And what about the term "auntie" (AHN-tee)? In some circles, it's considered respectful to address a wom ...…
 
The -ly suffix is a contraction hiding in plain sight. It is cognate with the word "like," and indeed, it literally means "like." "Sadly" is sad-like. "Madly" is mad-like. Amazingly, both "like" and "-ly" derive from a root word meaning "body or corpse." Over the course of this episode, we try to make sense of this semantic evolution.…
 
In this episode, Olly introduces his new project to learn Italian! In Today's Episode: Note: For full show notes, please visit the main blog post introducing the project. To view the "mission control" for the Italian project, including all the resources I'm using, click here: Italian Project Resource Page Start Speaking Today: I’d like to thank ...…
 
Hello! I’m currently in hospital so am having to take a little time off work. Therefore, instead of a new Allusionist episode today, here’s my favourite audio piece I’ve heard this year: ‘S.E.I.N.F.E.L.D.’ from Ross Sutherland’s podcast Imaginary Advice. NB: the episode contains a couple of Strong Terms. Hear more Imaginary Advice episodes – so ...…
 
In this episode, we turn our attention to the south of England and examine some of the unique features of the Middle English dialects spoken there after the Norman Conquest. We also take a look at a poem composed in the Southern dialect called “The Fox and the Wolf.” Finally, we explore how developments in this region informed some of the moder ...…
 
In the 11 years Martha and I have been doing A Way with Words together, we’ve developed an attitude. It’s a positive attitude. It’s who we really are. It’s the attitude we take toward language, linguistics, and the people who use them. For example, we believe that if we all — you, me, everyone — try to perfect our understanding of language and ...…
 
John McWhorter on language lessons from this year's Tony nominees for Best Musical. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ...…
 
In this episode, Olly speaks with Shannon Kennedy from Eurolinguiste.com. In Today's Episode: Minimalism in the language sphere Introversion and shyness, and how it affects the learner Moving from Romance to Asian languages https://youtu.be/iwPu0WoNpFQ Start Speaking Today: I’d like to thank italki for supporting the show. To claim your free le ...…
 
We talk about Koko, the celebrity gorilla who was taught to sign, and what we've learned about language from her. In the news: horses and babies can read minds. Kind of. Words of the Week: tender-age facility, womp womp, infest, mince.
 
How colors got their names, and a strange way to write. The terms "blue" and "orange" arrived in English via French, so why didn't we also adapt the French for black and white? Plus, not every example of writing goes in one direction across the page. In antiquity, people sometimes wrote right to left, then left to right, then back again -- the ...…
 
Most of the time, a word is an arbitrary label: there’s no particular reason why a cat has to be associated with the particular string of sounds in the word “cat”, and indeed other languages have different words for the same animal. But sometimes it may not be so arbitrary. Take these two shapes: a sharp, spiky 🗯 and a soft, rounded 💭 and these ...…
 
Professional soccer used to export its English-language terminology, giving other languages words like 'penalty' and 'goal.' But now, the roles are reversed. English-speakers use expressions loaned from other languages to describe skill moves: 'rabona,' 'panenka,' 'gegenpress.'By The World in Words.
 
Talking with Knut Olawsky of the Mirima Language Centre. Knut helps to make new words for the Miriwoong language. What goes into lexical creation for a living language? The Australian government is having another go at adding a language test to become a permanent resident of Australia. We talk about why this is discriminatory. Words of the Week ...…
 
Teen slang from the South, and food words that are tricky to pronounce. High schoolers in Huntsville, Alabama, give Martha and Grant an earful about their slang -- including a term particular to their hometown. All we can say is: Don't be a "forf"! And: How do you pronounce the name of that tasty Louisiana specialty: Is it JUM-buh-lye-yah or JA ...…
 
Today will be fine. But wait: fine as in ‘OK’, fine as in ‘really rather good’, or fine as in ‘no precipitation’? When you’re a TV weather forecaster, you have to deal with the mismatch of your specialist vocabulary with that of the meteorological laypeople watching – as well as cover all the weather across a whole country, translate conditions ...…
 
To be or not to be? Well, if you're conjugating the verb, you're most likely using a form that does not sound like "to be." "To be" is the most irregular verb in the English language, and in today's episode, we explore why this is the case from historical and technical linguistic viewpoints.
 
A request from Martha. - 13 June 2018 Have you ever wanted to know who we really are? How Grant and I really see ourselves? Well, for one thing, we believe that talking about language should be about the variety of its possibilities. It shouldn’t be about limiting, or condemning, the different language of other people. Isn’t it cool that there ...…
 
Luca asks: "Are you changing your view on the best way to learn a language?" In Today's Episode: Luca's noticed an evolution in the way I've been talking about language learning on the podcast He finds a Krashen-esque "input-based" methodology to be the most effective and wonders if I'm becoming a convert to this I've found my experiences influ ...…
 
John McWhorter on the way in which words like f*ck and sh*t are increasingly standing in for it and that. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com ...…
 
Talking to Stephanie Shih about the 1st Conference of Pokémonastics. What do the names of Pokémon reveal about human language? In the news: Researchers train a bot on captions from violent and gory images on Reddit. Do gendered languages correlate with lower educational attainment and workforce participation by women? Words of the Week: swattin ...…
 
There's a proverb that goes "Beloved children have many names." That's at least as true when it comes to the names we give our pets. "Fluffy" becomes "Fluffers" becomes "FluffFace" becomes "FlufferNutter, Queen of the Universe." Speaking of the celestial, how DID the top politician in California come to be named Governor Moonbeam, anyway? Blame ...…
 
Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image) At the dawn of the 14th century, Edward I was forced to deal with a popular uprising in Scotland. At the same time, a poet in northern England composed the oldest surviving poem in the Northern dialect of Middle English called the Cursor Mundi. In this episode, we turn our attention to ...…
 
Christy asks: "How can I get better in English conversation?" In Today's Episode: Studying and acquiring vocabulary is just the beginning You learn to communicate in a foreign language by actually communicating Communication between different cultures relies on lots beside just language - body language, cultural difference, hierarchy Get out th ...…
 
David asks: "How can I understand more of what's said in my salsa class?" In Today's Episode: Taking classes in your target language is a great way to get more exposure to the target language Friends, communities, and shared experiences will all help you learn more in the long run Don't put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect during you ...…
 
What goes into writing a (not the) dictionary? We talk to lexicographer Jane Solomon of Dictionary.com. Are more people learning Korean, and is it because of K-pop? Why do people take longer pauses before nouns? Words of the Week: nipaluna, koinonia, zhoosh
 
When writing textbooks about slavery, which words best reflect its cold, hard reality? Some historians are dropping the word "slave" in favor of terms like "enslaved person" and "captive," arguing that these terms are more accurate. And raising a bilingual child is tough enough, but what about teaching them three languages? It's an ambitious go ...…
 
Grammar is one of the defining features of language. In today's episode, we look at some of the fundamentals of grammar in general, and then take a brief tour through the historical evolution of English grammar itself. Part 1 in a five-part series.
 
Strange or obtuse; a stinging homophobic slur; a radical political rejection of normativity; a broad term encompassing every and any variation on sexual orientation and gender identity: the word ‘queer’ has a multifarious past and complicated present. Tracing its movements are Kathy Tu and Tobin Low from Nancy podcast, Eric Marcus from Making G ...…
 
Basque is a language isolate. Spoken in a region that spans northern Spain across the border into southern France, it is not part of the Indo-European language family. It’s not related to Spanish or French or German or Greek or any known language. The origins of the language are a bit of mystery. In fact you can almost hear the history of the E ...…
 
John McWhorter on the tantalizing prospect of a universal language. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Vis ...…
 
We talk to Nick Enfield about conversation patterns, and his book 'How We Talk'. Simeon Floyd tells us about new research on the act of thanking. Words of the Week: nano-, yesn't
 
Vocabulary that trickles down from the top of the world. Malamute, kayak, and parka are just some of the words that have found their way into English from the language of indigenous people in northern climes. Also, the surprising language of physicists: in the 1970s, some scientists argued that two quarks should be called "truth" and "beauty." ...…
 
In this episode, Olly and Gabriel Wyner discuss the ins and outs of learning Italian through opera. NOTE: The full show notes to this episode are here: How to learn Italian through opera - A conversation with Gabe Wyner Start Speaking Today: I’d like to thank italki for supporting the show. To claim your free lesson and start speaking today, vi ...…
 
Ever wondered about people who can improvise on stage? How the words seem to come so easily? Neuroscientist Charles Limb and comedian Anthony Veneziale did. First came the bromance, then Veneziale found himself improvising inside an fMRI machine.By The World in Words.
 
Michael Rosen and Laura Wright look at the history behind and witty wordplay used in shop names, with guest Greg Rowland of The Semiotic Alliance, which invents names for products, and favourite punning shop names tweeted in by the audience.. a florist called Back to the Fuchsia, anyone?Producer Beth O'Dea.…
 
A live show with Pint of Science! Amy Budrikis talks to the team about her study of Aboriginal language transmission in families. Troy Reynolds busts some myths about signed languages and Australian Aboriginal languages, and finds some surprising similarities. Daniel, Ben, and Kylie play 'Finish That Story' and 'Everyone Is Wrong'. Words of the ...…
 
You are born and raised in a household speaking a language. Then you start going to school, and that language is banned. If you speak it, you’ll be punished physically or psychologically. Across your country, there are people like you who associate their first language with shame, or not even being a language at all. This is the predicament of ...…
 
Secret codes, ciphers, and telegrams. It used to be that in order to transmit information during wartime, various industries encoded their messages letter by letter with an elaborate system--much like today's digital encryption. Grant breaks down some of those secret codes--and shares the story of the most extensive telegram ever sent. Plus, we ...…
 
Australian and Canadian English don’t sound much alike, but they have one big similarity: they’re both national varieties that tend to get overshadowed by their more famous siblings. In this episode of Lingthusiasm, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch use Lynne Murphy’s new book The Prodigal Tongue as a guide to the sometimes prickly ...…
 
Lea is a teenager born and raised in Japan. Her mother is Chinese, her father American. She speaks English, Mandarin and Japanese but isn’t sure which of them is her mother tongue. Karolina lives in Boston but grew up in several countries and speaks a bunch of languages. Her English is perfect but she doesn’t feel completely at home in it, or i ...…
 
Ron asks: "How can I make the most of my commuting time?" In Today's Episode: Driving is not an ideal language learning environment because your focus is elsewhere Stick with principles - listen to material that's just above your current level Use the time to listen to material that you can then study more intensively in your free time That way ...…
 
A brief history of oratory from the Gilded Age to the Era of Trump. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Vis ...…
 
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