Episode 48: Who you are in high school, linguistically speaking - Interview with Shivonne Gates

A new episode of Lingthusiasm!

Listen here to Episode 48: Who you are in high school, linguistically speaking - Interview with Shivonne Gates

High school is a time when people really notice small social details, such as how you dress or what vowels you’re using. Making choices from among these various factors is a big way that we assert our identities as we’re growing up. For a particular group of students in the UK, they’re on the forefront of linguistic innovation using a variety known as Multicultural London English. 

In this episode, your host Lauren Gawne interviews Dr. Shivonne Gates, a linguist who wrote her dissertation on Multicultural London English and is currently a Senior Researcher at NatCen Social Research, Britain’s largest independent social research agency. We talk about her research on accents in the UK, doing collaborative research with young people, and linguistics research jobs outside of academia. 


This month’s bonus episode is about pangrams! Pangrams are sentences that contain all of the letters of the alphabet, like the famous “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” and the more obscure “Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow!”. In this episode, Gretchen and Lauren get enthusiastic about pangrams and the further questions that they raise about the structure of various languages. How short can you get an English pangram without becoming incoherent? Which characters are hard to include in different languages? Do accented characters count as separate letters? What kinds of using-every-symbol writing can you make with non-alphabetic writing systems? Help Lingthusiasm stay ad-free and get access to over 40 bonus episodes by supporting us on Patreon.   


We have teamed up with Crash Course to write the 16 video series Crash Course Linguistics. We’re so excited to share this course with you!

If you want to get an email when each of the Crash Course Linguistics videos comes out, along with exercises to practice the concepts and links for further reading, you can sign up for Mutual Intelligibility email newsletters.

We also have exciting new merch colours! Our International Phonetic Alphabet scarves and masks, notebooks, mugs, and socks are now available in Raspberry, Mustard, and Lilac with white IPA symbols.


Here are the links mentioned in this episode:


You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, Soundcloud, RSS, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on the Lingthusiasm website. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.

Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Sarah Dopierala, and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

Here’s the link again to Episode 48: Who you are in high school, linguistically speaking - Interview with Shivonne Gates

Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!

Lauren & Gretchen

Episode 47: The happy fun big adjective episode

A new episode of Lingthusiasm!

Listen here to Episode 47: The happy fun big adjective episode

Adjectives: they’re big, they’re fun, they’re…maybe non-existent? In English, we have a fairly straightforward category of adjectives: they’re words that can get described with a comparative or a superlative, such as “bigger” or “most fun”. But when we start looking across lots of languages, we find that some languages lump adjectives in with verbs, some with nouns, and some do different things altogether.  

In this episode, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about adjectives! We talk about how linguists come up with diagnostic tests to determine whether something is an adjective, other quirks about adjectives (such as why we say “big red ball” but not “red big ball”), and the galaxy-brain question of whether grammatical categories like adjectives are even valid across all languages. 


This month’s bonus episode is about doing LingComm on a budget - plus the Lingthusiasm origin story! We got started doing linguistics communication when we were both broke grad students. We talk about the various stages we went through with launching our blogs, Superlinguo and All Things Linguistic, and of course this podcast a few years later! We give tips on how to come up with a topic, set a schedule, and promote your project, as well as the nitty-gritty details on free or low-cost ways to do  things like registering a website and starting a blog, podcast, or youtube channel. Support Lingthusiasm on Patreon to get access to this and 40 other bonus episodes, and to chat with fellow lingthusiasts in the Lingthusiasm patron Discord.


Announcements:

By popular demand, our IPA, Tree and Esoteric Symbol designs are now available on these new non-medical reusable fabric masks from Redbubble. On our store you’ll find the white IPA characters on blackred or navy, and the esoteric symbols in white on black or green on black. If you fancy another colour, or the tree design, we’ve made masks available on all of the scarf pages.

Also check out our Schwa (Never Stressed) pins, IPA scarves, IPA socks, and more at RedBubble.


Here are the links mentioned in this episode:


You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, Soundcloud, RSS, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on the Lingthusiasm website. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.

Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Sarah Dopierala, and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

Here’s the link again to Episode 47: The happy fun big adjective episode

Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!

Lauren & Gretchen

Episode 46: Hey, no problem, bye! The social dance of phatics

A new episode of Lingthusiasm!

Listen here to Episode 46: Hey, no problem, bye! The social dance of phatics

How are you? Thanks, no problem. Stock, ritualistic social phrases like these, which are used more to indicate a particular social context rather than for the literal meaning of the words inside have a name in linguistics – they’re called phatics! 

In this episode, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about the social dance of phatic expressions. We talk about common genres of phatics, including greetings, farewells, and thanking; how ordinary phrases come to take on a social meaning versus how existing phatic expressions can become literal again; and how phatics differ across languages and mediums, including speech, letters, email, and social media.  


This month’s bonus episode is about music and linguistics! Both speech and music can involve making sounds using the human body, but they also have differences. Different cultures highlight the similarities and differences between music and language in various ways, which we’ve received lots of questions about! In this episode, we talk about how languages with tone deal differently with matching up those tones to musical pitches, mapping drums and whistles onto language sounds in order to communicate across long distances, using linguistics to analyze genres of music like opera and beatboxing, and that time Gretchen went on holiday and actually ended up getting a demonstration of the whistled language Silbo Gomero. Support Lingthusiasm on Patreon to get access to this and 40 other bonus episodes, and to chat with fellow lingthusiasts in the Lingthusiasm patron Discord.


Gretchen’s book about internet language, Because Internet, is available in paperback! It includes a section on phatic expressions in email and social media as well as lots of other things about how we talk to each other online, including emoji, memes, what internet generation you belong to, a small cameo from Lauren and Lingthusiasm, and more! You can also still get the audiobook version, read by Gretchen herself (no Lauren though, sorry). It also makes a great gift for anyone you communicate with online. 


Here are the links mentioned in this episode:

You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, Soundcloud, RSS, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on the Lingthusiasm website. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.

Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Sarah Dopierala, and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

Here’s the link again to Episode 46: Hey, no problem, bye! The social dance of phatics

Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!

Lauren & Gretchen

Episode 45: Tracing languages back before recorded history

A new episode of Lingthusiasm!

Listen here to Episode 45: Tracing languages back before recorded history

Language is much older than writing. But audio and visual cues from sounds and signs don’t leave physical traces the way writing does. So when linguists want to figure out how people talked before history started being recorded, we need to engage in some careful detective work, by comparing two or more similar, known languages to (potentially!) reconstruct a hypothetical common ancestor.  

In this episode, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about these prehistoric languages that historical linguists have reconstructed, known as proto-languages. We dive into some of our favourite proto-languages (Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Algonquian, Proto-Pama-Nyungan, and Proto-Bantu), look at their characteristic grammatical signatures, and explain what we can and can’t know about the people who spoke them based on their vocabularies. 


This month’s bonus episode is about doing linguistics with kids! Child language acquisition is a perennial source of entertainment for the linguistically-inclined – and so is helping any young people in your life develop an interest in linguistics. In this episode, we talk about some of our favourite things to observe about how kids are learning language as well as linguistically-relevant books for children, middle grade, and young adult. Support Lingthusiasm on Patreon to get access to this and 39 other bonus episodes, and to chat with fellow lingthusiasts in the Lingthusiasm patron Discord.


We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2020 LingComm Grants. Here are the project titles for the 4 grantees, and there’s more information about each project on the LingComm website, as well as two honourable mentions. We’re very excited to share more with you as they develop.

  • The Black Language Podcast (Anansa Benbow)

  • Nonbinary Linguistics youtube channel (Nina Lorence-Ganong)

  • Jazicharnica (Јазичарница) blog (Nina Tunteva and Viktorija Blazheska)

  • War of Words podcast (Juana de los Santos; Angela Makeviciuz; Antonella Moschetti; Néstor Bermúdez)

We had over 75 applications from around the world and we’d like to thank all applicants for making the job of deciding extremely difficult! 


New masks

By popular demand, our IPA, Tree and Esoteric Symbol designs are now available on these new non-medical grade reusable fabric masks from Redbubble. On our store you’ll find the white IPA characters on blackred or navy, and the esoteric symbols in white on black or green on black. If you fancy another colour, or the tree design, we’ve made masks available on all of the scarf pages.

Also check out our Schwa (Never Stressed) pins, IPA scarves, IPA socks, and more at RedBubble.


Here are the links mentioned in this episode:

You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, Soundcloud, RSS, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on the Lingthusiasm website. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.

Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Sarah Dopierala, and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

Here’s the link again to Episode 45: Tracing languages back before recorded history

Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!

Lauren & Gretchen

Episode 44: Schwa, the most versatile English vowel

A new episode of Lingthusiasm!

Listen here to Episode 44: Schwa, the most versatile English vowel

The words about, broken, council, potato, and support have something in common – they all contain the same sound, even though they each spell it with a different letter. This sound is known as schwa, it’s written as an upside-down lowercase e, and it has the unique distinction of being the only vowel with a cool name like that! (The other vowels are called, unglamorously, things like “high front unrounded vowel”).

In this episode of Lingthusiasm, your hosts Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne get enthusiastic about why the schwa is cool enough to get its own name! We also talk about why the word schwa doesn’t itself have a schwa in it, the origin of the word schwa in Hebrew and German, the relationship between schwa and “silent e”, and how schwa contributes to an English-sounding accent in other languages. Schwa is also a big reason why English spelling is so difficult, because other vowels often become schwa when they’re not in a stressed syllable (giving rise to lots of jokes like “I wanna be a schwa, it’s never stressed).


This month’s bonus episode is about numbers! We talk about fossilized number systems (which explain words like “eleven” and “twelve” in Germanic languages), counting gestures and different base systems in various languages (from base 6 to base 27), and indefinite hyperbolic numerals (words like “bazillion” and “umpteen”). Support Lingthusiasm on Patreon to get access to the numbers episode, as well as 38 other bonus episodes, and to chat with fellow lingthusiasts in the Lingthusiasm patron Discord.

We can all aspire to be a little less stressed, like our favourite English vowel. We’ve created new Schwa (Never Stressed) merch. Available in a floral garland, stylised geometric black on white and stylised geometric white on black. Pins, cards, mugs, and mobile phone cases. Art by Lucy Maddox www.lucymaddox.com. Lingthusiasm merch makes a great gift for yourself or other lingthusiasts! Also check out IPA scarves, IPA socks, and more at lingthusiasm.redbubble.com


Have a great idea for a linguistics communication project, but need a bit of money to get it off the ground? Looking to support emerging lingcomm projects? The LingComm Grant is four $500 grants for communicating linguistics to broader audiences in 2020. Applications close 1st of June 2020. Find out more and apply here.


Here are the links mentioned in this episode:


You can listen to this episode via Lingthusiasm.com, Soundcloud, RSS, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also download an mp3 via the Soundcloud page for offline listening, and stay tuned for a transcript of this episode on the Lingthusiasm website. To receive an email whenever a new episode drops, sign up for the Lingthusiasm mailing list.

You can help keep Lingthusiasm advertising-free by supporting our Patreon. Being a patron gives you access to bonus content and lets you help decide on Lingthusiasm topics.

Lingthusiasm is on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic. Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our editorial producer is Sarah Dopierala, and our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

Here’s the link again to Episode 44: Schwa, the most versatile English vowel

Thanks for listening, and stay Lingthusiastic!

Lauren & Gretchen

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