364: Mailbag of R-R-R-R

The questions never stop, and neither do we.

  • What’s the past tense of yeet, and why is English past tense so strange?
  • How can etymology help with spelling?
  • Should French teachers have to speak with a Parisian accent?
  • Do’s

363: Talking Race (with Jessi Grieser)

What happens to language when newcomers move in?

Language isn’t just for communication — it also signals membership in a group, and this is especially clear in a gentrifying community in Washington DC. Black residents are using African-American English to stake …

362: Gesture in Mind

Gesture. We all do it. But what are our brains doing while it’s going on?

What does gesture contribute to our interpretation? Can we work out complex meanings when words are replaced by gestures? And when a gesture like the …

361: Helping My Language Live – Language Activism (with Margaret Florey)

Imagine watching your language erode away.

How would you help it to stay alive? What can one person do in the face of language loss? There’s good news: lots of people are taking up the challenge and becoming language activists. …

360: Familiolects (Live Q&A)

Which words, phrases, and pronunciations are unique to your family?

We often talk about languages, dialects, and even our own personal ideolects, but for most of us, home is where language starts. So what it’s doing at your place?

Our …

359: False Friends (Live Q&A)

They feel so right, but sound so wrong.

They’re false friends — pairs of words in different languages that seem like they’d mean the same thing, but don’t. Which ones have you run across in your language experience?

Our friends …

358: Mailbag of Mallets

Again we tackle the questions that others dast not.

  • Why do all children seem to know the nyah nyah song?
  • Why do classic movie stars talk in that strange accent?
  • Do Chinese characters stay readable longer than English words?
  • Who

357: The F-Word (with Jesse Sheidlower)

Flexible. Funny. Foul.

This most versatile of English words is all of these and more. And it gets a thorough cataloging in The F-Word by lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower.

He sits down with Daniel for a chat on history, power, …

356: The The Show (with Nick Wilson)

THUH alien, or THEE alien?

It all depends on whether the next word starts with a vowel sound or a consonant sound. At least that’s the story. But one researcher is finding a lot of speakers are doing something very …

355: The Bee Show (with Stephen Mann)

Bees: not just great pollinators; great communicators.

The dance of the European honeybee is one of the most famous methods of communication in the animal kingdom, and shows features that are very similar to human language.

But are bees losing …

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