As the title suggests, The World in Words is an offshoot of Public Radio International’s The World. It’s a linguistic podcast that focuses on…well…the world.
It’s also the subject of this second review of linguistics podcasts, as promised in my September 26 post. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of overlap in the topics of these 4¼ podcasts. (Why 4¼? Because four of them are strictly about linguistics but the fifth one is primarily about a great many other topics.) But overlap in topics doesn’t mean overlap in content, so do listen to all of them.
An interruption now — a linguistic meta-topic: the word podcast is like class or show, so it’s often unclear how specific its referent is. If I talk about “two podcasts,” do I mean Lingthusiasm and The World in Words, or do I mean two episodes of possibly the same podcast? It becomes clearer if we consistently use the word episode for the latter.
Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post.
So, what about The World in Words? It provides a welcome real-world take on linguistics, focusing on a specific culture or language each time. Occasionally it’s irritatingly plagued by errors, such as the repeated pronunciation of German “v” like the English “v” rather than the English “f,” which severely damaged an analysis of the German word “Volk.” But usually The World in Words is more professional than that, and it’s always interesting, so do listen to it. Here is a list of some recent episodes:
- Why the English word ‘black’ became the new ‘noir’ in France.
- Arabic has a Jewish dialect, and these women speak it.
- ‘What a total God shot!’ Understand that? Then you speak Christianese.
- Language versus dialect, or why we’re obsessed with Elena Ferrante.
- Which version of Indian history do American school students learn?
- In Moldova, speaking the wrong language once had serious consequences (recorded right here in Newton!)
- Is this remote Siberian language an ancestor to Navajo?
- The Putinization of Donald Trump
- Dialect versus language — what’s the big deal?
- Grandmothers have the best curse words.
- Cracking open a case of fortune cookie theft.
- In the former East Germany, Frank Zappa lives on as a beacon of freedom.
- Deciphering the lingo of pro-Trump trolls
- One simple word defines Germans, but Germans don’t agree on what it means. (That’s the one with the mispronounced “Volk.”)
- How to speak like an aliebn — no, that’s not a typo.
Hard to resist those titles, isn’t it?