The Vocal Fries (yet another linguistics podcast!)

Yet another linguistics podcast has come to my attention! It’s The Vocal Fries, subtitled “the podcast about linguistic discrimination.” This series, now four months old, is of course named for the phonological register commonly called “vocal fry,” but that’s only the starting point.

What, you may wonder, is linguistic discrimination? According to one of the hosts, it’s “just bigotry in a slightly more socially acceptable form.” You can start to get a glimpse of what that means by looking at the titles of the first five episodes:

  1. Uppity Women
  2. Foul-Mouthed Women
  3. Southern Fried
  4. Grammar Not-zi
  5. On the Rez

So there we have hints of discussions of linguistic discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, class, and geography, with an underlying theme of the fight against prescriptivism that is standard among linguists (as it should be). There are two hosts:

  • Carrie Gillon, who is obviously the primary host as she has “4.5 cats,” is a professor of linguistics at Arizona State who specializes in American indigenous language.
  • Megan Figueroa, who must be the secondary host as she only has a dog, is a linguistics graduate student.

OK, maybe I have it wrong; those might not really be the reasons for identifying who’s the primary host, but there it is.

Anyway, this blog is well worth listening to, although it badly needs editing. The content is always great, but there is altogether too much giggling. Or maybe that’s just my male privilege showing up — which would be truly ironic, given the subtitle of this blog!



Categories: Linguistics