Podcasts have become a bigger part of my media consumption than I expected they would. I’ll stick to linguistic ones here, in keeping with the blog’s theme. New ones keep appearing, leading to dilemmas in time management, but it’s a happy kind of dilemma.
Here, in alphabetical order, are a handful of good language podcasts that entered the scene in 2019–2020. Episode lengths, given in parentheses, are approximate.
The Black Language Podcast, by Black millennial Anansa Benbow, explores Black people’s language (mostly English) in terms of its politics, pragmatics, grammar, and style, demonstrating its beauty and complexity. Episodes so far are more or less monthly. (20–30 min)
The Language Revolution, by British linguist Cate Hamilton, focuses on language education, particularly learning new languages (at any age): how it happens, why it’s good for you, how languages are taught, and so on. Interviews include David Crystal and Michael Rosen. (20–75 min)
Lexis, from a group of linguists in the UK, is a kind of informal public-facing sociolinguistics. It comprises broad and informed discussion and interviews on topics such as language education, language attitudes, and linguistics in the news. I have a cameo in ep. 9. (30–60 min)
Standing on Points is a cultural history of punctuation by Dr Florence Hazrat, who specializes in ‘literary form and how it plays together with social-historical environments’. Episodes are expansive explorations of punctuation norms, forms, and development. (30–90 min)
Subtitle, by Patrick Cox and Kavita Pillay, ‘tells stories of our obsessions with language’. This allows for a diverse range of ideas and topics to be explored through a personal lens, such as pandemic metaphors, the Finnish concept of sisu, and Gullah Geechee. (15–30 min)
Word Matters is a weekly podcast by a team of Merriam-Webster editors. Episodes are lighthearted and short, but still roomy enough to dig into thorny usage issues and fascinating etymologies. They also offers a glimpse into working life at a major dictionary. (15–30 min)
That’ll keep you going for a while, unless you’ve already heard them all, in which case try browsing Lauren Gawne’s giant list of language podcasts at Superlinguo.
In the video below, Gawne chats about language podcasting with Lingthusiasm co-host Gretchen McCulloch and two other favourites: The Vocal Fries, aka Megan Figueroa and Carrie Gillon, and Because Language’s Daniel Midgley and Hedvig Skirgård (formerly Talk the Talk).