OK, yes, I know that on September 26 I wrote that “My next four posts will deal with four different linguistics podcasts.” But then I was overtaken by events and just had to write a post about the noxious and obnoxious remarks by Congressman Schweikert. So now, delayed by one post, is the first of the promised four.

The wonderfully conversational Lingthusiasm — billed as “a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics” — is a monthly exploration of interesting linguistic topics, written and presented by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. The conversational format works well, reminding me of why a class conducted jointly by two teachers can be so effective. Like such a class, the Lingthusiasm podcasts aren’t tightly scripted or even tightly edited, leading to some unnecessary minutes that could have been redone…but who cares? They give the discussion an informality that’s much more enticing than the stuffy formality that linguistics suggests to too many people.

Here’s a list of the titles of all the episodes so far (there’s only so much that you can tell from titles, so check out the more detailed descriptions):

  1. Speaking a single language won’t bring about world peace
  2. Pronouns. Little words, big jobs
  3. Arrival of the linguists
  4. Inside the Word of the Year vote
  5. Colour words around the world and inside your brain
  6. All the sounds in all the languages — The International Phonetic Alphabet
  7. Kids these days aren’t ruining language
  8. People who make dictionaries: Review of Word by Word by Kory Stamper
  9. The bridge between words and sentences — Constituency
  10. Learning languages linguistically
  11. Layers of meaning — Cooperation, humour, and Gricean Maxims
  12. Sounds you can’t hear — Babies, accents, and phonemes

If you follow the above link, you can find detailed descriptions of the episodes, along with lots of relevant links. Try it out; you might get hooked!

Categories: Linguistics