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82 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
Accent and identity (with Erik Singer)
If you know me and my work then you know that I talk a lot about identity, and especially how your accent is a big part of your identity: your accent tells the story of your life. But if you do want to change your accent, or improve your pronunciation, how do you do it? Recently I had the pleasure of talking to someone with expert answers to that question: Erik Singer, a dialect coach who helps film and television actors to speak with an accent that is not their native accent, and because of this he knows exactly what it takes mentally and physically to change the way you speak. In this interview we talk about how to change your accent, the best ways to practice, but more importantly if and why you should try to ‘speak like a native’. I hope you enjoy it.
64 minutes | Jun 13, 2021
The state of modern linguistics | The Story of Language | Bonus episode
Welcome to The Story of Language: an original podcast series about language, linguistics, cognition, and culture. In this bonus episode we talk about the state of modern linguistics, including the effects of the replication crisis, scientific fraud, Anglocentrism, and how the underappreciated work of Charles Sanders Peirce might offer a universal theory of how language works.
67 minutes | Jun 6, 2021
Embodied cognition | The Story of Language | Episode 12
Welcome to The Story of Language: an original podcast series about language, linguistics, cognition, and culture. In this episode we discuss embodied cognition and the uncontroversial fact that the brain is an organ of the body, which then leads to the very controversial conclusion that our brain is no more important than our skin, and that imagining the world as if you had eyes in your toes can lead to some revolutionary new thinking.
91 minutes | May 30, 2021
Dark matter of the mind | The Story of Language | Episode 11
Welcome to The Story of Language: an original podcast series about language, linguistics, cognition, and culture. In this episode we discuss the content of Dan’s book Dark Matter of the Mind, which lays out Dan’s theory of culture. The book contains bold statements as ‘brains do not learn’ and ‘science is NOT pure rational thought’, but after this conversation you might change your mind about the raw power of viewing the world from the perspective of Dark Matter.
76 minutes | May 16, 2021
The cognitive revolution | The Story of Language | Episode 10
Welcome to The Story of Language: an original podcast series about language, linguistics, cognition, and culture. In this episode we talk about the cognitive revolution, and whether the revolution really exists at all. We discuss the beginnings and the state of the art of the study of cognition and show why it’s important to celebrate all discoveries as progress, even if they are doomed to failure.
60 minutes | May 2, 2021
Endangered languages | The Story of Language | Episode 9
Welcome to The Story of Language: an original podcast series about language, linguistics, cognition, and culture. In this episode we talk about endangered languages. I ask why languages are important, what is lost when a language disappears, the cultural and economic factors behind language loss, and the truth about the best way to stop languages from disappearing.
73 minutes | Apr 18, 2021
Language acquisition | The Story of Language | Episode 8
Welcome to The Story of Language: an original podcast series about language, linguistics, cognition, and culture. In this episode we talk about the big questions in language acquisition. Is there a Language Acquisition Device? Is language learned or innate? How does child learning differ from adult learning? Should syntax be the basis for language analysis? And are humans really the only things on the planet with language, or do other animals have it too?
65 minutes | Apr 4, 2021
Metaphor in language | The Story of Language | Episode 7
Welcome to The Story of Language: an original podcast series about language, linguistics, cognition, and culture. In this episode we talk about the fundamental role of metaphor in language, from its involvement in the creation and evolution of language to its role in the modern understanding of language through the work of Lakoff and Johnson, and the study of semiotics.
76 minutes | Dec 1, 2020
Learn English with a dictionary (with Peter Sokolowski)
People are passionate about language, especially language change, and words matter. And nobody knows this better Peter Sokolowski, who is an editor at the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one of the most famous and most trusted dictionaries in the world. Peter has spent his life immersed in words and their meanings, and all the complications that come along with that work. In this interview we talk about the role of the dictionary, standard and non-standard English, language and culture, how to learn English with a dictionary, and how dictionaries are a sign of human agreement, and sometimes profound disagreement.
16 minutes | Nov 26, 2020
1 powerful mind trick to get fluency
In this podcast you will learn how Pygmalion and the Wizard of Oz can teach you the secret to fluency in English that has been causing controversy for more than 50 years.
58 minutes | Nov 19, 2020
Destroying language myths (with Shana Poplack)
It’s an unfortunate fact that many people don’t know the truth about how language works outside of their grammar books, in the real world, but recently I spoke to someone who is trying to change that. Shana Poplack and her sociolinguistics laboratory at the University of Ottawa are known as the mythbusters, because they destroy damaging myths about language and language change. They don’t look at language in its ideal state: they look at how language is used every day by real people, and the discoveries they make are often controversial, and fly in the face of deeply-held beliefs, but their discoveries are always based in truth.
46 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
Where words come from and how to remember them (with Mark Forsyth)
There are few people in the world who know as much about where words come from as Mark Forsyth. His first book, The Etymologicon, was a journey through the origins of many common words and their connections, and he has since written various other books about words, language, and writing. In this interview Mark tells fascinating and entertaining stories about where words come from, how to remember them, and how to use those words to be a better communicator.
44 minutes | Nov 7, 2020
Grammar based on the unfamiliar (with Robert Van Valin)
It’s an unfortunate fact that most of linguistic theory is based on a few major European languages, especially English, which actually damages our understanding of how the thousands of languages in the world might work. But there is one man who has spent his career trying to correct the balance. Robert Van Valin is one of the developers of Role and Reference Grammar or RRG which aims to explain language by focusing on some of the most unfamiliar languages in the world. In this interview we talk about the fundamentals of RRG, and what unites and divides the world's languages.
16 minutes | Nov 6, 2020
How to speak English faster
In this podcast you will learn the connection between Pixar, red triangles, information, thought, and fluency. Enjoy!
13 minutes | Nov 5, 2020
The weight of expectation
In this podcast I talk about the positive and negative effects of the weight of expectation, and how living the in past or the future might be stopping you from getting fluency in English.
16 minutes | Oct 30, 2020
In this episode you'll learn why touching wood, throwing salt, and car accidents can help you to see the truth about learning a language.
14 minutes | Oct 29, 2020
How many holes does a straw have?
In this episode you'll learn why culture connects London taxi drivers, donuts, smiling Japanese people, and Australian shop assistants.
20 minutes | Oct 26, 2020
Immersion is a state of mind
In this episode you'll learn the hard lessons of my army father-in-law, who failed to learn a language after 14 years of 'immersion'.
15 minutes | Oct 22, 2020
Question everything to get fluency
In this episode you will learn about the differences and similarities between humans and animals, and why you shouldn't take everything you know about language learning for granted.
14 minutes | Oct 21, 2020
Why you need to learn slowly to get fluency
In this episode I talk about what mathematics really means, why Mathematicians asked schools to stop teaching calculus, and the parallels between maths and language. In this episode you might be surprised to learn that the secret to fluency is to slow down.
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