Talk The Talk



A show about linguistics, the science of language, on RTRFM 92.1 community radio, Perth.


  • 14: Word Jail (with Ian Cushing)

    10/11/2020 Duration: 01h14min

    Schools are banning words and policing language. It may be a well-meaning attempt to encourage good language habits, but it also perpetuates troubling language ideologies that may be harming the very students that schools are committed to educate. Linguist Ian Cushing tells us about his findings.

  • 13: White Supremacy (with Kelly Wright)

    29/10/2020 Duration: 01h25min

    The definition of white supremacy: is it expanding, or are we just getting better at recognising it and its reach? How does white supremacy show itself in language and in linguistics? Kelly Wright talks about her work in sociolinguistics, and how we all can do better.

  • 11: Aboriginal English: Yarning (with Glenys Collard and Celeste Rodriguez Louro)

    09/10/2020 Duration: 01h05min

    Aboriginal English has been around a long while, but linguists have not taken the opportunity to really listen to the voices of Aboriginal people. Two researchers are changing that. They're gathering stories to find out what Aboriginal English is like, and how it's changing. Daniel sits down with them for a wicked long yarn on this episode of Because Language.

  • 10: What's with Wugs?

    28/09/2020 Duration: 01h12min

    These cute critters, once part of a pioneering study in child language acquisition, have become an unofficial mascot of linguistics. But now they’re part of a tussle over intellectual property. We do our best to talk through the Wug test and the surrounding struggle.  

  • 9: OzCLO (with Henry Wu, Elisabeth Mayer, and the students of Sydney Girls School and Sydney Boys School)

    18/09/2020 Duration: 01h41min

    OzCLO is the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad, where Australian high school students compete with others around the world by solving language puzzles. This week, we've invited some of Australia's best students to test their linguistic knowledge against us! Who will prevail?

  • 8: How Translatable Are Languages? (with Gary Lupyan)

    06/09/2020 Duration: 01h06min

    Blog post: Patreon: Language and culture are intertwined, and a new research project discovers that the meanings of words diverge as culture does. But this big-data experiment is attracting the ire of anthropologists. Why the friction? Researcher Gary Lupyan joins us for this episode of Because Language.  

  • 7: Mailbag of One Wrong Answer

    24/08/2020 Duration: 01h09min

    Our ever-popular Mailbag is bursting with questions, so let’s get to them! How do you communicate expressively with a mask on? Which was the first language with a set spelling? Why is the word caterpillar so long? Did it come later? Why are some news outlets writing “since the pandemic begun“? As prescriptive linguists, can we reasonably disagree with someone’s definition of a word, if that definition is being used by people?

  • 6: Decolonising Linguistics: Grammars (with Hannah Gibson)

    11/08/2020 Duration: 01h23min

    Linguistics as a discipline has some work to do when it comes to examining and eliminating the legacy of colonialism. How do we do it? And how do we feel about the overtly evangelical agenda of a lot of linguistic work? Dr Hannah Gibson joins us.

  • 5: The LSA Open Letter

    22/07/2020 Duration: 01h09min

    An open letter to the LSA has ignited a furious debate among linguists and the wider public about who represents public linguistics — and who gets to set the terms of acceptable public debate. The establishmentarians say it’s about free expression. We think it’s about power. If you’re wondering what’s going on, this bonus episode is for you.

  • 4: Bilingual Advantages (with Iryna Khodos)

    14/07/2020 Duration: 01h18min

    We’ve heard a lot about the cognitive benefits of bilingualism. But then we’ve also seen a lot of the supposed benefits get walked back. What are the facts? Does being bilingual provide any cognitive advantage? What factors does this depend on? What is bilingualism anyway? We’re talking to researcher Iryna Khodos on this episode of Because Language.

  • 3: Let's Talk (with David Crystal)

    06/07/2020 Duration: 01h13min

    Show notes: Subscribe: How does conversation work? Why are videoconference calls so awkward and terrible? Why can we say goodbye multiple times in a conversation, but good morning only once? And how do we get good at being a conversationalist? David Crystal tells us about his book Let’s Talk on this episode of Because Language.

  • 2: Mailbag of Iconoclasm

    16/06/2020 Duration: 58min

    Time to get to this Mailbag! Why are flip-flops called 'thongs'? When people write the date as '7 April' or 'April 7', do they also say it that way? Why do we add 'up' to verbs like 'cut up' or 'eat up'? Why do some words have opposite meanings?

  • 1: Our Favourite Things

    08/06/2020 Duration: 01h11min

    For our first episode, we asked some of our linguist and lingo-pod friends what their favourite thing is about language. We are joined by: Ben Zimmer Carrie Gillon (The Vocal Fries) Ellen Jovin (Grammar Table) Grant Barrett (A Way with Words) Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne (Lingthusiasm) Jane Solomon (The Dictionary of Difficult Words) John McWhorter (Lexicon Valley) Nicole Holliday (University of Pennsylvania) Ryan Paulsen (Lexitecture) Much gratitude to all our friends for their kind support.

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