36 episodios

Language unites and divides us. It mystifies and delights us. Patrick Cox and Kavita Pillay tell the stories of people with all kinds of linguistic passions: comedians, writers, researchers; speakers of endangered languages; speakers of multiple languages; and just speakers—people like you and me.

Subtitle PRX

    • Sociedad y cultura

Language unites and divides us. It mystifies and delights us. Patrick Cox and Kavita Pillay tell the stories of people with all kinds of linguistic passions: comedians, writers, researchers; speakers of endangered languages; speakers of multiple languages; and just speakers—people like you and me.

    Season 3 is coming

    Season 3 is coming

    In our upcoming season, we’ll have stories on people who have “lost” their mother tongue, the language of self help, why certain sounds make us laugh, and much more. The first episode drops December 15. Subtitle is a production of Quiet Juice and the Linguistic Society of America. Music by Organized Chaos. Photo by Nola […]

    • 1m
    A language that survived the boarding schools

    A language that survived the boarding schools

    Gwich’in is among Alaska’s most threatened languages. but Princess Daazhraii Johnson is determined to change that. Her mother, she says, was of “that boarding school generation that was hit for speaking Gwich’in.” Today, more Gwich’in people are learning their language, and kids are exposed to it by shows like PBS’ Molly of Denali. In this […]

    • 23 min
    A tale of edible intrigue

    A tale of edible intrigue

    Who writes the fortunes in fortune cookies? Why are so many of them not really fortunes at all? Why did some fortunes turn ominous for a while? (“After today, you shall have a deeper understanding of both good and evil.”) And who was behind the theft of countless fortunes? Lidia Jean Kott has the answers to […]

    • 27 min
    The pleasure and pain of spelling

    The pleasure and pain of spelling

    With the Scripps National Spelling Bee back after a Covid-enforced year off, we conduct our very own spelling quiz. Also, Kavita Pillay offers her take on why Indian American kids perform so well in spelling bees. And author and self-described “crummy" speller David Wolman tells us why he wrote a history of English spelling and the many attempts to reform it.

    • 33 min
    We are the people

    We are the people

    The German word “Volk” usually translates as “people,” but it means a whole lot more than that. In 1989 as Germans tore down the Berlin Wall, they chanted, “Wir sind das Volk!” (“We are the people!”) Today, though, “Volk” no longer unites Germans. Some understand it to mean everyone living in Germany. Others define it […]

    • 33 min
    The little pronoun that could

    The little pronoun that could

    In 2012, a children’s book in Sweden sparked a nationwide debate— not about the book’s content but a three-letter word used by the main character. Hen was a relatively new, gender-neutral pronoun which challenged Swedish grammar norms. The use of hen tapped into a conversation the country was already having about gender and equality. Can the introduction of one word make a difference in changing societal views? Nina Porzucki goes to Sweden to find out.

    • 31 min

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