I organized a panel called Language in the Public Ear: Linguistics Outreach via Podcasts and Radio at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. Here’s a description of the panel from the LSA program:
The number of Americans who listen to podcasts has doubled since 2013, and a growing number of these podcasts are about linguistics. Being able to download an episode to your phone or computer, listen to it anywhere (often while doing something else with your hands), and even pause and come back to it, has created a surge in the popularity of audio. While language is often a popular topic on general interest shows, there are now enough dedicated linguistics podcasts that we’ve put together a whole panel of them for the first time in LSA history. This panel brings together the hosts of both well-established and up-and-coming linguistics podcasts, which combined reach hundreds of thousands of listeners around the world.
Although a few speakers ran into weather issues and had to send in their contributions remotely, it all came together in the end! Here’s a link to all the podcasts, in order of appearance, with cohosts who weren’t present in parentheses:
- Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty
- Lexicon Valley, John McWhorter
- The Allusionist, Helen Zaltzman
- That’s What They Say, Anne Curzan
- The World in Words, Nina Porzucki (with Patrick Cox)
- Talk the Talk, Daniel Midgley (with Ben Ainslie and Kylie Sturgess)
- Lingthusiasm, Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch
- A Way with Words, Grant Barrett (with Martha Barnette)
We were also excited to have at the panel The Vocal Fries (Megan Figueroa and Carrie Gillon) which didn’t even exist when we were putting the panel together. It’s great to see the linguistics podcast sphere continue to grow! If you’re looking for more language podcast recommendations, do check out the other podcasts on this list!
Also at the LSA, I organized a linguistics Wikipedia editathon with Lauren Collister, who’s an excellent new addition to the lingwiki team, in a rather epic room, and stepped in at the last minute to co-host the Five Minute Linguist competition with Lane Greene of the Economist, in addition to our previously scheduled judging, due to weather issues again. You can watch a video of all the Five Minute Linguist talks here.
Still at the LSA, we took a group photo of lingthusiasts wearing IPA scarves and reached $1000/month on Patreon while Lauren Gawne and I were in the same place, so we got celebratory ice cream!
The Lingthusiasm main episode was about learning parts of words: morphemes and the wug test. Here’s a thread about wugs and linguistic in-jokes. The bonus was an interview with Daniel Midgley of Talk the Talk about how “We are all linguistic geniuses”. We also did an interview with The Vocal Fries about Canadian and Australian Englishes.
Planning for creating an AP Linguistics course continues: Here’s a thread on how you can help and a blog post version. The LSA is now also offering free membership to K-12 students and teachers.
- If I could make just one request of everyone writing about the internet in a format that’s not utterly transient (tweets are exempt, but I’m thinking academic article, static website, book), it would be to replace all instances of “modern”, “current” etc with the year of writing.
- Still waiting for a commentary podcast about Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey
- Languages are like forests, not gardens
- *spontaneous explanations of the Great Vowel Shift*
- If spells were in IPA, you’d already know how to pronounce “wingardium leviosa”
- Internet literature in tweet-thread form
- Computers — you keep the wikipedia in them!
- Is your child texting about linguistics?
Selected blog posts:
- When most people tell you they think words are so fascinating, they have in mind items like “canoodle” and “serendipity.” When linguists say it, they have in mind, like, “the.”
- Why do cartoon villains speak in foreign accents?
- Keysmashing “wrong”
- Ursula K LeGuin on singular “they”
- Linguistics jobs: museum curator
- The 300-year history of using “literally” figuratively
- How to crochet your own wug
I went into two bookstores while I was in Salt Lake City to check out their linguistics sections. One was shelved next to “etiquette” and the other next to “witchcraft.” There are two kinds of linguists…