74 episodes

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 Quiet Juice

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 174 Ratings

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.

    Will Icelandic survive the invasion of English?

    Will Icelandic survive the invasion of English?

    Some Icelanders are becoming unsettled by this existential question: Will their language still be spoken in the future? Comedian and former Reykjavik mayor Jón Gnarr is convinced that this uniquely archaic-yet-modern language will one day die out. He says his children express themselves beautifully in English but speak limited Icelandic. Give it a couple more generations, and who knows? For Gnarr and many others, speaking Icelandic is an essential part of being Icelandic. Without the language, Iceland's patriotic anthem "Land, Nation and Tongue" would lose its meaning. Among Iceland's multitude of avid book-readers though, the language is showing few signs of disappearing. For now at least, Icelandic authors are committed to writing in their mother tongue.



    This is part two of our reporting on Icelandic. Listen to the first part, Icelandic, the language that recycles everything.



    In addition to Jón Gnarr, we hear from novelists Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir and Sverrir Norland, as well as literary translator Larissa Kyzer, linguist Ari Páll Kristinsson, and Ethiopian-born restaurant owner Azeb Kahssay.



    Music in this episode by Luella Gren, Hysics, Medité, Farrell Wooten, J.S. Bach/Eric Jacobsen, Jon Björk, and Trabant 33. The photo is of a poster in Reykjavik celebrating the Icelandic language.



    Read a transcript of the episode here. Sign up for Subtitle’s newsy, nerdy, fortnightly newsletter here.

    • 18 min
    The language that gave Missouri its name

    The language that gave Missouri its name

    Many place names in the United States are borrowed from Native American words. It's often hard to trace the roots. Over time, the original names were often transformed beyond recognition, victims of mangled pronunciation. Suzanne Hogan is our guide to the origins of Missouri, a name rooted in the Chiwere language. Chiwere has been imperiled for generations but kept alive by the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, and by one tribe member in particular: Truman Washington Dailey, a pioneer of North American language revitalization.



    Suzanne Hogan is the host of the podcast, A People's History of Kansas City. Read more about this episode here, and more about the Otoe-Missouria Tribe here. A People's History of Kansas City is supported by the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri.



    Music in this episode courtesy of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe. Other music by Gunnar Johnsen, Blue Dot Sessions, Medité, and Trabant 33. The photo shows a delegation of the Otoe-Missouria tribe in 1881. (Credit: John K. Hillers / Gilman Collection, Metropolitan Museum Of Art.) 



    Sign up for Subtitle’s fortnightly newsletter here.

    • 33 min
    Presenting Home, Interrupted

    Presenting Home, Interrupted

    In this episode, we're handing over the reins to the podcast series, Home, Interrupted, produced by Feet in 2 Worlds. The series explores how the climate crisis affects immigrants across the U.S., and how immigrant communities are finding new ways to deal with a warming planet. In this episode, reporter Allison Salerno tells the stories of migrant farmworkers in Florida who face increasingly hazardous conditions. State lawmakers have blocked legislation to protect them, so farmworkers are now seeking help from outside groups who are donating ice packs, cooling bandanas, water with electrolytes and other things to help keep them alive.



    More on this episode here, and on the Home, Interrupted series here. The photo of Elena Contreras and her mother Mirella Contreras, a former migrant farmworker who now is an organizer for the Farmworker Association of Florida, is by Allison Salerno.



    Sign up for Subtitle’s newsy, nerdy, fortnightly newsletter here.

    • 26 min
    Icelandic, the language that recycles everything

    Icelandic, the language that recycles everything

    Icelanders are protective of their language. When a new piece of tech or a new disease emerges, people debate what to call these things in Icelandic. New words must sound and look Icelandic, otherwise they may not survive. The country's Knitting Words Committee is one of dozens of community panels charged with proposing new words. Typically, they repurpose old words that have fallen out of use. Who doesn't want to revive a word or phrase from Iceland's sagas? In this episode, we take you to Iceland to discover how, seemingly, an entire nation has coalesced around the maxim, "We have a very good old word for that." 



    Music in this episode by Taomito, Silver Maple, pär, Medité, Nathan Welch, and Trabant 33. Photo of Hulda Hákonardóttir and Guðrún Hannele Henttinen of Iceland's Knitting Words Committee by Patrick Cox.



    Read a transcript of the episode here. And sign up for Subtitle’s newsy, nerdy, fortnightly newsletter here.

    • 20 min
    The bilingual edge: what the research says

    The bilingual edge: what the research says

    In recent decades, Americans' perception of bilingualism has been transformed. As recently as the 1990s, the prevailing belief was that if a child grew up bilingual, they would be at a linguistic and cognitive disadvantage. Today, many Americans believe the opposite, that speaking more than one language carries advantages. But the hundreds of studies of the bilingual brain don't all draw the same conclusions. In this episode, we sample some recent research whose findings are helping to paint a more nuanced picture of how bilingual speakers function differently from monolinguals.



    Music in this episode by Walt Adams, Blue Dot Sessions, Medité, Podington Bear and Trabant 33. Photo of a bilingual street sign in Sydney's Chinatown by Jordanopia/Wikimedia Commons.



    Read a transcript of the episode here. And sign up for Subtitle’s newsy, nerdy, fortnightly newsletter here.

    • 26 min
    How Basque speakers saved their language

    How Basque speakers saved their language

    How did Basque survive Spain's military dictatorship under Francisco Franco when speaking, writing and reading it were illegal? With more than six dialects, how did its speakers agree on a standard way of writing the language? And how has Basque thrived in the decades since Franco died? Nina Porzucki tells the story of Europe's most mysterious language and its tenacious speakers— a story that includes immigration to the American West, decades of exile in South America, translations of Shakespeare's plays and an epic struggle over the letter H.



    Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions, Josef Falkensköld, and Trabant 33.Photo of participants in a relay ‘marathon’ in support of the Basque language by Tintxarri via Wikimedia Commons. Info about Nina Porzucki here.



    Read a transcript of the episode here. And sign up for Subtitle’s newsy, nerdy, fortnightly newsletter here.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
174 Ratings

174 Ratings

cadelarge ,

If you are interested in, or a fan of, linguistics, this podcast is the one!

For the linguists, professional and amateur, among us, this podcast is a must listen. The hosts do a nice job of covering a broad variety of topics and cases in this field of inquiry. As a lover of language, I have really enjoyed how these discussions have deepened and expanded my own understanding, and appreciation of human language. I recommend this for anyone who is like-interested.

Anotherchessaddict ,

Yes please more!

I love this pod and its earlier incarnation, The World in Words. I’ve recommended it to many friends and coworkers too. Among all the important things to learn from the pod is the healthy reset of my view of the linguistic center, as a native english speaker from the USA. But it’s good storytelling and humor too. So very good. Thank you Patrick Cox and Kavita Pillay.

Douglas210 ,

So much fun!

I’ve recommended this podcast to quite a few folks. Listen to a couple of episodes and you will be hooked.

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