218 episodes

Lexicon Valley is a show about language, from pet peeves, syntax, and etymology to neurolinguistics and the death of languages. Hosted by linguist John McWhorter.

Lexicon Valley Slate Magazine

    • Language Learning
    • 4.6 • 2.7K Ratings

Lexicon Valley is a show about language, from pet peeves, syntax, and etymology to neurolinguistics and the death of languages. Hosted by linguist John McWhorter.

    The Invisible Complexities of Translation

    The Invisible Complexities of Translation

    A single word—take "self," for example—reveals the thorny nature of literary translation.
    Slate Plus members get a bonus segment on Lexicon Valley each week, and no ads. Sign up now to listen and support our show.
    Twitter: @lexiconvalley
    Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley
    Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 46 min
    English Is Plain Weird

    English Is Plain Weird

    Don't be fooled into thinking that English is a typical language. It's not.
    Slate Plus members get a bonus segment on Lexicon Valley each week, and no ads. Sign up now to listen and support our show.
    Twitter: @lexiconvalley
    Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley
    Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 44 min
    Subject-Verb-Object. Right?

    Subject-Verb-Object. Right?

    For many languages, the idea that the subject belongs up front is plain backwards.
    Slate Plus members get a bonus segment on Lexicon Valley each week, and no ads. Sign up now to listen and support our show.
    Twitter: @lexiconvalley
    Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley
    Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 43 min
    Parting Company

    Parting Company

    How did a word meaning "with bread" come to sprout its corporate connotation?
    Slate Plus members get a bonus segment on Lexicon Valley each week, and no ads. Sign up now to listen and support our show.
    Twitter: @lexiconvalley
    Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley
    Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 44 min
    Wallowing in Negativity

    Wallowing in Negativity

    From the evolution of ain't to double negatives, simply saying no is wonderfully complex.
    Slate Plus members get a bonus segment on Lexicon Valley each week, and no ads. Sign up now to listen and support our show.
    Twitter: @lexiconvalley
    Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley
    Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 46 min
    Fossil Hunting in English

    Fossil Hunting in English

    Our language contains a trove of buried clues, petrified remnants of its past. But you have to know where to dig.
    Slate Plus members get a bonus segment on Lexicon Valley each week, and no ads. Sign up now to listen and support our show.
    Twitter: @lexiconvalley
    Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley
    Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
2.7K Ratings

2.7K Ratings

South Florida Traveller ,

Entertaining and instructive

This is a top five podcast inclusive of all genres, IMO. Consistently rich in content, funny and entertaining, the deep preparation for each episode is evident. Lots of ‘unknown unknowns’ out there as relates to the origins and uses of language...

As a Pittsburgh ex pat, I happened across, and present for your consideration, a new entry, circa 2020, into the Pittsburghese lexicon: CORNTINE (aka “quarantine”).

in.n.y.c ,

Police apologist

I was ready to skip past the long commercials and ego-stroking the host engages in, but the views and arguments he puts into the public sphere on current events are disingenuous, demonstrably false, and absurd on their face. Those views are separate from the linguistics he discusses on the podcast but I cannot support even the podcast of someone so obviously dishonest and, frankly, blind to reality. He appears to believe that cops generally operate without racial bias in the US and he regularly makes excuses for police misconduct....

danceofthe7veils ,

Good podcast, but...

I’m finding John very unappealing on social media, and therefore have stopped enjoying the podcast too. But before that, I found it an enjoyable presentation.

Top Podcasts In Language Learning

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by Slate Magazine