348: Microcosm (featuring Rachel Hendery)

What happens when you take a language and put it on an island?

That’s what’s happened on Palmerston Island, one of the most isolated places on earth. And one linguist, Dr Rachel Hendery, has learned some fascinating things about …

347: Not Rocket Surgery (featuring Kari Sullivan and William Black)

Metaphors are powerful. But what happens when you mix them?

Will you come out looking like a rose? Or will you be opening Pandora’s box of worms?

We’re talking to Dr Kari Sullivan, author of a new book about …

346: What Works (featuring Dan Dediu)

Why does language have the form it does, and why does it change the way it does?

Is it just… because? Or are there environmental motivators? Linguists are getting interested in just what factors are forming language into what it …

345: Talk on the Wild Side (featuring Lane Greene)

Language is creative! Language is anarchic.

And language refuses to be tamed. But its indomitability may be the key to its power.

A new book by Lane Greene will give language sticklers something to think about. Lane joins us on …

344: Coincidences and Surprising Connections (featuring Bethwyn Evans)

Language is full of strange coincidences.

When two words sound alike, does that mean they have a secret past? Or could it be just a chance meeting? The answer could change language history.

We’re stepping into the linguistic time machine …

343: Moon Moons and Reduplication Reduplication

There are some things so nice we say them twice. And when we do, we’re using reduplication.

But this handy device can handle a surprising range of functions in the world’s languages, and it can pop up in the …

342: Mailbag of Vague

We are once again diving into our voluminous mailbag.

Was the QWERTY layout designed to slow you down? Is English a creole language? Why does a word keep popping up over and over after you first hear it? And what …

341: What the F (featuring Benjamin Bergen)

What’s behind swearing?

If you’re looking at the brain, an awful lot. But how do we use swearing to navigate social relationships? And do all language have swears?

We’re talking to cognitive scientist Benjamin Bergen on this episode of Talk

340: Ethics in Big Data (featuring Hannah Rashkin and Maarten Sap)

Do you know where your data is?

Language researchers can learn a lot from publicly available internet data. But what are the ethical issues surrounding the collection and use of this information? What about data that comes from home assistants? …

339: How English Could Be Way Cooler

Other languages have good ideas too, you know.

Have you noticed something cool about another language, and wished English did that? Is there any feature of another language that you wish English had?

Daniel and Hedvig are engaging in a …

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