Podcast: Lingthusiasm

I co-host a podcast called Lingthusiasm, a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics, with Lauren Gawne of the blog Superlinguo. We’ve been guests on NPR Ask Me Another and Buzzfeed calls us “joyously nerdy”!

Make your boring commute or chores feel like a lively, nerdy, language-y dinner party with real linguists! Here’s how one of our listeners describes the show:

It’s hard for podcasts about technical or specialist topics to strike the right balance between rigour and accessibility, but Lingthusiasm manages to. It feels like I’m listening in on a conversation between two of my most interesting friends :) (Amelia June on iTunes)

To get more of a sense of the show, see how other people have described us or read a few memorable excerpts.

Lingthusiasm has regular monthly half-hour episodes on the third Thursday of the month, as well as monthly bonus content via Patreon. Each episode also has a shownotes page, with links to articles, memes, and so on discussed in the episode, and a transcript.

You can listen to Lingthusiasm on iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play MusicYouTube or most other podcast apps via rss, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.

Episodes make sense in any order, so feel free to pick any topic that grabs your attention, but I’m personally especially fond of When nothing means something. Here’s a longer list:

  1. Speaking a common language won’t lead to world peace
  2. Pronouns: singular “they”, other languages, and solving the gay fanfiction pronoun problem
  3. A lingthusiastic review of the alien linguistics movie Arrival
  4. Inside the Word of the Year vote
  5. Colour words around the world and inside your brain
  6. All the sounds in all the languages – the International Phonetic Alphabet
  7. Kids these days aren’t ruining language
  8. People who make dictionaries: Review of Kory Stamper’s book Word by Word
  9. The bridge between words and sentences — Constituency
  10. Learning languages linguistically
  11. Layers of meaning — Cooperation, humour, and Gricean Maxims
  12. Sounds you can’t hear – Babies, accents, and phonemes
  13. What Does it Mean to Sound Black? Intonation and Identity Interview with Nicole Holliday
  14. Getting into, up for, and down with prepositions
  15. Talking and thinking about time
  16. Learning parts of words: Morphemes and the wug test
  17. Vowel gymnastics
  18. Translating the untranslatable
  19. Sentences with baggage: Presuppositions
  20. Speaking Australian and Canadian English in an American/British binary
  21. What words sound spiky across languages? Interview with Suzy Styles
  22. This, that, and the other thing – Determiners
  23. When nothing means something
  24. Making books and tools speak Chatino – Interview with Hilaria Cruz
  25. Every word is a real word
  26. Why do C and G come in hard and soft versions? Palatalization
  27. Words for family relationships – Kinship terms
  28. How languages influence each other – Interview with Hannah Gibson on Swahili, Rangi, and Bantu languages
  29. The verb is the coat rack that the rest of the sentence hangs on
  30. Why do we gesture when we talk? (also a video episode!)
  31. Pop culture in Cook Islands Māori – Interview with Ake Nicholas
  32. You heard about it but I was there – Evidentials
  33. Why spelling is hard – but also hard to change
  34. Emoji are Gesture Because Internet
  35. Putting sounds into syllables is like putting toppings on a burger
  36. Villages, gifs, and children – Interview with Lynn Hou on signed languages in real-world contexts (also a video episode!)
  37. Smell words, both real and invented
  38. Many ways to talk about many things – Plurals, duals, and more
  39. How to rebalance a lopsided conversation
  40. Making machines learn language – Interview with Janelle Shane
  41. This time it gets tense – the grammar of time
  42. What makes a language easy? It’s a hard question
  43. The grammar of singular they – Interview with Kirby Conrod
  44. Schwa, the most versatile English vowel
  45. Tracing languages back before recorded history
  46. Hey, no problem, bye! The social dance of phatics
  47. The happy fun big adjective episode
  48. Who you are in high school, linguistically speaking – Interview with Shivonne Gates
  49. How translators approach a text
  50. Climbing the sonority mountain from A to P
  51. Small talk, big deal
  52. Writing is a technology
  53. Listen to the imperatives episode!
  54. How linguists figure out the grammar of a language
  55. R and R-like sounds – Rhoticity
  56. Not NOT a negation episode

Bonus episodes (bonus transcripts are each linked to from each bonus episode’s page):

  1. Swearing and pseudo-swears
  2. How to teach yourself linguistics
  3. How to explain linguistics to employers (text chat)
  4. Doggo linguistics behind the scenes
  5. Hypercorrection
  6. Language play
  7. DIY linguistic research
  8. Hark, a liveshow! So, like, what’s up with discourse markers?
  9. Is X a sandwich? Solving the word-meaning argument
  10. Liveshow Q and eh
  11. We are all linguistic geniuses: Interview with Daniel Midgley of Talk the Talk
  12. Creating languages for fun and learning
  13. The grammar of swearing
  14. The Poetry of Memes: Roses are red in the icebox
  15. What you should know if you’re considering applying to linguistics grad school
  16. Forensic linguistics
  17. Homonyms, homophones, and homographs
  18. Emoji, Gesture, and the International Congress of Linguists – behind the scenes on the linguistics conference circuit
  19. Hyperforeignisms
  20. Bringing up bilingual babies
  21. What’s it really like at academic conferences?
  22. Q&A about old words, ears, Australian English, and more
  23. Naming people (and especially babies)
  24. How the internet is making English better (liveshow from Melbourne)
  25. Adapting your language to other people
  26. How do radio announcers know how to pronounce all the names? With guest Tiger Webb
  27. Talking with dogs, horses, ravens, dolphins, bees, and other animals
  28. North, left, or towards the sea? With guest Alice Gaby
  29. Words from your family – Familects!
  30. Welcome aboard the metaphor train!
  31. Behind the scenes on Because Internet (Q&A)
  32. Jobs, locations, family, and invention – Surnames
  33. Reading fiction like a linguist
  34. The sounds of sheep, earthquakes, and ice cream – Onomatopoeia
  35. What might English be like in a couple hundred years?
  36. Generating a Lingthusiasm episode using a neural net
  37. Teaching linguistics to yourself and other people
  38. When letters have colours and time is a braid – The linguistics of synesthesia
  39. A myriad of numbers – Counting systems across languages
  40. Doing linguistics with kids
  41. Tones, drums, and whistles – linguistics and music
  42. LingComm on a budget (plus the Lingthusiasm origin story)
  43. The quick brown pangram jumps over the lazy dog
  44. The most esteemed honorifics episode
  45. Crash Course Linguistics behind the scenes with Jessi Grieser
  46. Q&A with lexicographer Emily Brewster of Merriam-Webster
  47. Deleted scenes – outtakes from Lingthusiasm interviews
  48. 100th episode Q&A about naming dogs, modifying English, linguistics research, and more
  49. The episode-episode (reduplication)
  50. Talking to babies and small children
  51. Lingthusiasm liveshow: the listener talks back (on backchannelling)

We suggest starting with the free main episodes, which can be found by searching for “lingthusiasm” on any podcast app, and then if you’re still looking for more Lingthusiasm, support us on Patreon to get access to the bonus episodes, a Discord community that’s enthusiastic about linguistics, and more.

The podcast also has merch: clothing and other items that are enthusiastic about linguistics, which make great gifts for the linguists in your life. IPA scarves, tree diagram scarves, esoteric symbols scarves, Lingthusiasm logo stickers, baby clothes, and items that say NOT JUDGING YOUR GRAMMAR, JUST ANALYSING IT, Heck Yeah Descriptivism, and Heck Yeah Language Change.