30 episodes

A podcast about language, with host John McWhorter.

lexiconvalley.substack.com

Lexicon Valley from Booksmart Studios Lexicon Valley

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 294 Ratings

A podcast about language, with host John McWhorter.

lexiconvalley.substack.com

    When Words Collide

    When Words Collide

    We are frequently asked — often by young listeners who are fascinated by language — how English could possibly accumulate the many thousands of words that make up its vast vocabulary. It’s a topic that’s just too fun not to revisit now and again.

    Please follow us on Twitter (@lexiconvalley) and leave a rating and/or review on Apple’s Podcasts app. Also, if you have a question that you’d like John to answer in his biweekly Q&A column, then send it along to BooksmartStudios@gmail.com. Thanks so much!

    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscribe

    • 38 min
    The Haphazard History of C

    The Haphazard History of C

    Hi Valley residents! It's Bob Garfield, former LV host, begging asking you to subscribe to my Bully Pulpit column at bullypulpit.substack.com. It's free, unless you wish to be a paid subscriber, for which you receive not a single extra bonus but the satisfaction of helping to keep my work going and my voice in the world. Either way, I'd be honored and delighted to have you aboard. Meanwhile, check out my most recent installment, in which I share Some Personal News and announce my retirement from radio/podcasting.

    And now, back to the Valley …

    The letters C and K can both represent what we might call a Hard C — as in Cosmo Kramer or Calvin Klein. Not to mention Q, which usually indicates that same sound. Why does the English alphabet have this confusing redundancy? John explains.

    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscribe

    • 30 min
    JFK's Most Famous Sentence

    JFK's Most Famous Sentence

    On Jan. 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy delivered — to an audience seated both outside at the U.S. Capitol and at home in front of their televisions — his inaugural address. Millions were stirred that afternoon by the rousing line: And so, my fellow Americans — ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. Every part of that exhortation, as John McWhorter explains, is a fascinating linguistic lesson.

    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscribe

    • 43 min
    The Evolution of 'Woke'

    The Evolution of 'Woke'

    What does it mean to be woke? Has the word problematic become problematic? Today in the Valley, John McWhorter talks with Banished host Amna Khalid about the fraught vocabulary of modern censorship.

    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscribe

    • 30 min
    Reviving Dead Languages

    Reviving Dead Languages

    More than half the world’s approximately 7,000 languages will have no speakers left in the coming decades. Some are working feverishly to preserve or maintain them. Others are asking: Why bother? John explains.

    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscribe

    • 44 min
    Let Sleeping Dogs Lay

    Let Sleeping Dogs Lay

    Do you know that the past participle of the intransitive verb lie is lain and that its past tense is lay, not to be confused with the present tense of the transitive verb lay? Oh, and do you know that no one really cares if you use them all correctly? John explains.

    This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit lexiconvalley.substack.com/subscribe

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
294 Ratings

294 Ratings

KingRita ,

What a trip!

I think I started on a trippy episode! 😂 I started on the history of the letter C. Very fascinating and makes sense. I studied history and Spanish in college so a lot of this tracks, but good lord! Had no idea how crazy it was! Regardless, crazy or simple, extremely fascinating and totally worth a listen for anyone who likes linguistics or just wonders why English is such a screwy language. Love it!

carl "time" V ,

Thank you

Love it!

RespectDifferentViews ,

Wonderful!

We admire your bravery. You are excellent. All the best people are cancelled now.

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