DiscoverBecause Language - a podcast about linguistics, the science of language.
Because Language - a podcast about linguistics, the science of language.

Because Language - a podcast about linguistics, the science of language.

Author: Daniel Midgley, Ben Ainslie, and Hedvig Skirgård

Subscribed: 1,674Played: 22,412


A podcast about linguistics, the science of language.
134 Episodes
Aboriginal English has been around a long while, but linguists have not taken the opportunity to really listen to the voices of Aboriginal people. Two researchers are changing that. They're gathering stories to find out what Aboriginal English is like, and how it's changing. Daniel sits down with them for a wicked long yarn on this episode of Because Language.
OzCLO is the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad, where Australian high school students compete with others around the world by solving language puzzles. This week, we've invited some of Australia's best students to test their linguistic knowledge against us! Who will prevail?
Blog post: Patreon: Language and culture are intertwined, and a new research project discovers that the meanings of words diverge as culture does. But this big-data experiment is attracting the ire of anthropologists. Why the friction? Researcher Gary Lupyan joins us for this episode of Because Language.  
Linguistics as a discipline has some work to do when it comes to examining and eliminating the legacy of colonialism. How do we do it? And how do we feel about the overtly evangelical agenda of a lot of linguistic work? Dr Hannah Gibson joins us.
5: The LSA Open Letter

5: The LSA Open Letter


An open letter to the LSA has ignited a furious debate among linguists and the wider public about who represents public linguistics — and who gets to set the terms of acceptable public debate. The establishmentarians say it’s about free expression. We think it’s about power. If you’re wondering what’s going on, this bonus episode is for you.
We’ve heard a lot about the cognitive benefits of bilingualism. But then we’ve also seen a lot of the supposed benefits get walked back. What are the facts? Does being bilingual provide any cognitive advantage? What factors does this depend on? What is bilingualism anyway? We’re talking to researcher Iryna Khodos on this episode of Because Language.
Show notes: Subscribe: How does conversation work? Why are videoconference calls so awkward and terrible? Why can we say goodbye multiple times in a conversation, but good morning only once? And how do we get good at being a conversationalist? David Crystal tells us about his book Let’s Talk on this episode of Because Language.
Time to get to this Mailbag! Why are flip-flops called 'thongs'? When people write the date as '7 April' or 'April 7', do they also say it that way? Why do we add 'up' to verbs like 'cut up' or 'eat up'? Why do some words have opposite meanings?
1: Our Favourite Things

1: Our Favourite Things


For our first episode, we asked some of our linguist and lingo-pod friends what their favourite thing is about language. We are joined by: Ben Zimmer Carrie Gillon (The Vocal Fries) Ellen Jovin (Grammar Table) Grant Barrett (A Way with Words) Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne (Lingthusiasm) Jane Solomon (The Dictionary of Difficult Words) John McWhorter (Lexicon Valley) Nicole Holliday (University of Pennsylvania) Ryan Paulsen (Lexitecture) Much gratitude to all our friends for their kind support.
"What's your pronoun?" Good question. Many people would like to be more supportive of trans and non-binary people. In general, it's helpful when cis people disclose their pronouns, but there's a little more to this story. Daniel and Ben are talking to researcher Cedar Brown about pronouns on this episode of Talk the Talk.
It's been a big year for singular they, but there's more than one pronoun in town. What invented pronouns have there been? How far back does singular they go? And why did some people kick up a fuss about singular you? We're talking to pronoun expert Dennis Baron on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Are there any pairs of words that you constantly get confused? They're the ones where you have to think for a second to get them straight. Why do our brains have this problem? What about these words makes them so confusable? We're listening to your responses on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Your voice is your ability to represent your point of view. So which voices are getting validated? Why are certain voices getting repressed? How do we end accent prejudice? Daniel and Ben are speaking to Jane Setter, author of Your Voice Speaks Volumes, on this episode of Talk the Talk.
It's Word of the Year time, and there are more words than ever before. We bring you the results from the yearly American Dialect Society vote, and from dictionaries around the world on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Just about every week, we bring you the Words of the Week. Which word from 2019 will listeners vote to make Talk the Talk's Word of the Year? And which words did we miss?
Again we open the Mailbag and answer our listeners' questions. What do lisps sound like in languages without the 'th' sound? How do gender-neutral terms work in languages with gendered pronouns? Do languages get more efficient over time? 'One-third' looks like 'three', so why doesn't 'half' look like 'two'? Does any poetic meter mimic the "natural rhythm" of human speech? How do children acquire humour? All on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Can you tell when someone is lying? You may think you have a sense about this, but the answers may surprise you. We're talking to forensic linguist Professor Georgina Heydon on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Language and culture are tightly bound. Or are they? Many speakers of the Australian language Dalabon are shifting to Kriol. But the two languages function in very different ways. Will speakers be able to translate relevant concepts over, despite linguistic differences? We're talking to Dr Maïa Ponsonnet on this episode of Talk the Talk.
If you speak a language besides English, you know that there are some idioms that English is missing, or just doesn't do as well. We want to hear them on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Artificial intelligence is everywhere, and that freaks some people out. But the real problem is that AIs may not be smart enough. Whether you're concerned about the future of human/computer interaction, or you just want a fun description of machine learning algorithms, there's a new book you should read. We're talking with author Janelle Shane on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Comments (4)

Stan Mulik

Instead of 'pensar en la muerte de la becerra', in Mexico I've heard 'pensar en la inmortalidad del cangrejo', as in, to think about the immorality of the crab.

Nov 14th


I would love to see the older episodes here too!

Sep 3rd
Reply (1)

Jim123bcb HD

I love this show, thanks for making it every week

Jul 8th
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