126 episodes

Interviews with people who make UC Berkeley the world-changing place that it is.
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Berkeley Voices Berkeley News podcasts

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 19 Ratings

Interviews with people who make UC Berkeley the world-changing place that it is.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    123: One brain, two languages

    123: One brain, two languages

    For the first three years of Justin Davidson's childhood in Chicago, his mom spoke only Spanish to him. Although he never spoke the language as a young child, when Davidson began to learn Spanish in middle school, it came very quickly to him, and over the years, he became bilingual.
    Now an associate professor in UC Berkeley's Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Davidson is part of a research team that has discovered where in the brain bilinguals process and store language-specific sounds and sound sequences. The research project is ongoing.
    This is the final episode of a three-part series with Davidson about language in the U.S. Listen to the first two episodes: "A linguist's quest to legitimize U.S. Spanish" and "A language divided."
    Photo courtesy of Justin Davidson.
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.
    Listen to the episode and read the transcript on Berkeley News (news.berkeley.edu).

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    • 13 min
    122: A language divided

    122: A language divided

    There are countless English varieties in the U.S. There's Boston English and California English and Texas English. There's Black English and Chicano English. There's standard academic, or white, English. They're all the same language, but linguistically, they're different.
    "Standard academic English is most represented by affluent white males from the Midwest, specifically Ohio in the mid-20th century," says UC Berkeley sociolinguist Justin Davidson. "If you grow up in this country and your English is further away from that variety, then you may encounter instances where the way you speak is judged as less OK, less intelligent, less academically sound."
    And this language bias and divide can have devastating consequences, as it did in the trial of George Zimmerman, who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012. 
    This is the second episode of a three-part series with Davidson about language in the U.S. Listen to the first and third episode: "A linguist's quest to legitimize U.S. Spanish" and "One brain, two languages."
    Listen to the episode and read the transcript on Berkeley News (news.berkeley.edu/podcasts).
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.
    AP photo by Jacob Langston.

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    • 11 min
    121: A linguist's quest to legitimize U.S. Spanish

    121: A linguist's quest to legitimize U.S. Spanish

    Spanish speakers in the United States, among linguists and non-linguists, have been denigrated for the way they speak, says UC Berkeley sociolinguist Justin Davidson. It’s part of the country's long history of scrutiny of non-monolingual English speakers, he says, dating back to the early 20th century.
    "It’s groups in power — its discourses and collective communities — that sort of socially determine what kinds of words and what kinds of language are acceptable and unacceptable," says Davidson, an associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
    But the U.S. is a Spanish-speaking country, he says, and it’s time for us as a nation to embrace U.S. Spanish as a legitimate language variety.
    This is the first episode of a three-part series with Davidson about language in the U.S. Listen to other two episodes: "A language divided" and "One brain, two languages."
    Listen to the episode and read the transcript on Berkeley News (news.berkeley.edu).
    Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small.
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 11 min
    120: Medieval song holds clues to lost dialects

    120: Medieval song holds clues to lost dialects

    In his research, UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate Saagar Asnani looks at music manuscripts from between the 12th and 14th centuries in medieval France. He says only recently have scholars begun to use a wider variety of media and artistic expressions as a way to study language. "If we unpack the genre of music, we will find a very precise record of how language was spoken," Saagar says. 
    To read medieval music, Saagar learned five languages — Latin, German, Italian, Catalan and Occitan — making 10 languages that he knows in total (for now, at least). 
    In losing the history of pieces of music, Saagar says, we’ve lost languages and cultures that were present and important to the time period. 
    And today, at a time when linguistic boundaries are crumbling before our eyes, he says, instead of judging someone who speaks differently from you, realize that “it's actually a way of speaking a language and that we should cherish that because it's beautiful in its own way."
    Listen to the episode and read the transcript on Berkeley News (news.berkeley.edu/podcasts).
    UC Berkeley photo by Brandon Sánchez Mejia.

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    • 18 min
    119: Art student's photo series explores masculine vulnerability

    119: Art student's photo series explores masculine vulnerability

    Brandon Sánchez Mejia stood at a giant wall in UC Berkeley’s Worth Ryder Art Gallery and couldn’t believe his eyes. In front of him were 150 black-and-white photos of men’s bodies in all sorts of poses and from all sorts of angles. It was his senior thesis project, "A Masculine Vulnerability," and it was out for the world to see.
    "It came from this idea that as men, we are not allowed to show skin as scars or emotions or weakness," said Sánchez, who will graduate from Berkeley this May with a bachelor’s degree in art practice.
    Sánchez’s cohort is part of the Department of Art of Practice’s 100th year, a milestone that department chair Ronald Rael said is cause for celebration.
    "There have been moments in art practice’s history when it was unclear that art should be at a university at all," said Rael, a professor of architecture and affiliated faculty in art. "And here we are, at 100 years, and it’s one of the most popular majors on campus."
    Listen to the episode and read the transcript on Berkeley News (news.berkeley.edu).
    This is a companion podcast to a feature story about Sánchez, published earlier this month on Berkeley News. There, you can view more photos and read about about how Sánchez's mom made him stay inside for a year as a teenager in El Salvador out of fear he'd join a gang. And how, against his mom's wishes and without any money of his own, he decided to pursue an education — no matter what it took.
    UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser.
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.

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    • 8 min
    118: Take the first Black history tour at UC Berkeley

    118: Take the first Black history tour at UC Berkeley

    The self-guided Black history tour at UC Berkeley begins at Memorial Stadium, where student Walter Gordon was a star of the football team more than 100 years ago. It then weaves through campus, making stops at 13 more locations, each highlighting an important person or landmark related to Black history.
    There's Ida Louise Jackson Graduate House, named in honor of the first African American woman to teach in Oakland public schools. Next is Barbara Christian Hall, named for the first Black woman to be granted tenure at Berkeley. Other stops include Wheeler Hall and Sproul Plaza, where Black visionaries, like James Baldwin and Martin Luther King Jr., gave famous speeches.
    "Just knowing this history, walking around campus and knowing it, you really feel like you belong," said student Daniella Lake, who's on the Black Lives at Cal team that created the tour. "Black people have been here for the past 100 years, and if they were doing all these amazing things then, I can surely do it now."
    You can find the self-guided Black history tour at Berkeley on Black Lives at Cal’s website. And soon, on the site, you’ll also be able to sign up for upcoming in-person walking tours.
    Listen to the episode and read the transcript on Berkeley News (news.berkeley.edu/podcasts).
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.
    Illustration by Heaven Jones.

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    • 9 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

Southside Eddie 777 ,

Ideas in action

Just listened to the latest Berkeley Talks podcast, exploring what ancient music can teach us about language. An esoteric topic, exotic, but … so cool. Rich ideas, beautiful music, and unexpected lessons for how to navigate a truly multicultural modern world. Thanks!

Leon Duane 53 ,

Great Podcast!

Every podcast is informative as well as interesting and I can’t wait for the next one to be posted. Well done!

Liv Reimers ,

Well done enjoyable podcast!

This is a consistently informative and enjoyable podcast about fascinating people and interesting and topical subjects.

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