It’s Lingthusiasm’s fifth anniversary! I’ve officially been making a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics with my cohost Lauren Gawne and our linguistically enthusiastic team for five years now!
In celebration, we redid the Lingthusiasm website to make it work better on mobile and so it would be easier for both new and recurring listeners to find things like where to start, transcripts, bonus episodes, and more. It looks so good now thanks to the tremendous behind-the-scenes efforts of Liz McCullough (different spelling, no relation!) and the new icon art by Lucy Maddox!
I also wrote an incredibly long meta post about the website design process for Lingthusiasm, which…you probably already know if you’re the type of person who likes long meta posts about the implicit social functions of things in everyday life.
Podcasts have what’s often called a discoverability problem: it’s hard for prospective listeners who might like a particular podcast to know what’s out there.
I propose, however, that this problem is not unique to podcasts, and that we could understand the nature of this problem better by calling it opacity: the degree to which you’re able to try before you buy without committing a substantial chunk of time, money, or effort.
For example, books have a higher opacity than newspapers, despite both being text, because it’s easier to read through some news articles before buying a physical paper or online subscription. Books, even when you can leaf through the first few pages, are often designed to be a unified rather than a modular experience, so you don’t know before committing to it if the premise that seems intriguing on page 1 is going to pay off well a few chapters later. Even if you’re getting access to the book itself as a gift or a loan, the time that it takes to figure out whether you’re enjoying it is still rather daunting.— How we made a better podcast website for Lingthusiasm
The main episode of Lingthusiasm was Cool things about scales and implicature. The bonus episode was Linguistic 〰️✨ i l l u s i o n s ✨〰️ (like optical illusions but for language!). We also sent out the Lingthusiastic sticker packs in the mail!
Also, we put some Lingthusiasm transcripts into a neural net and apparently the robots think I do linguist standup now.
- Zoom linguistics studies incoming
- linguist puzzles
- vocal fry is completely fine
- phonetic beatboxing
- multi-time-zone days of the week
- is this outfit bouba or kiki
- the feminine urge to make your adjectives agree with your nouns
- linguists on a bus
Selected blog posts:
- Pitch, intonation, and the role of technology in language description
- Interview with a Senior Analyst, Strategic Insights & Analytics
- “old people really need to learn how to text“
- The origin of language and interspecies communication
- The fight to save Hawaii sign language from extinction
This month’s image is from the website redesign: our artist Lucy Maddox did this exceedingly cute sketch of me and Lauren as the icon for our new “about” page!
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