Podcasts

Linguistic Voices on Campus was first designed as instructional material for the course “The Structure of English.”┬áIn this podcast series (2007-2010), I invited scholars and students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to discuss common beliefs about language through the lens of their own research.

Podcast #1: Feral Children

Click here to start podcast (24 mins., 26 MB)

Mark Louden, Professor of German at UW-Madison, talks about the history of “feral children”, also known as “wolf children, i.e. children who grew up abandoned or isolated, and without learning a language. Will they acquire language later in life? What can linguists learn from their language development? Cases that are discussed include that of Victor (“The Wild Boy of Averyon”), Genie, and Kaspar Hauser.

Podcast #2: American Dialects

Click here to start podcast (20 mins., 18 MB)

Joan Hall, Chief Editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), explains why studying dialects is not just for linguists. She talks about the history of DARE and its contribution to solving a criminal case. She gives lots of examples of old and new regionalisms. Listen — and you won’t have to scratch your head if you ever get invited to a scramble.

Podcast #3: There Are No Primitive Languages

Click here to start podcast (22 mins., 20 MB)

Monica Macaulay, Professor of Linguistics at UW-Madison, discusses the myth that not all languages are created equal and that there are languages with little grammar and hardly any complexity. She talks about her research on Native American languages and takes a stand against the assumption that the structure of languages determines our perception of the world (Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis). And what’s up with those dozens of words the Eskimo are supposed to have for “snow” anyway?

Podcast #4: The Grammar of Shakespeare, Part I: “Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle”

Click here to start podcast (15 mins., 14 MB)

Richard Knowles, Professor of English at UW-Madison (Emeritus) and one of the editors of Shakespeare’s plays for the New Variorum Edition (published by the Modern Language Association), discusses characteristics of Shakespeare’s grammar and of Early Modern English in general. Part I of this podcast focuses on Shakespeare’s vocabulary — invented words, borrowed words, derived words, inkhorn words, puns, and malapropisms.

Are you looking for the list of dictionaries mentioned in the podcast? Click here

Podcast #5: The Grammar of Shakespeare, Part II: “Thou speakest wiser than thou art ware of”

Click here to start podcast (15 mins., 14 MB)

This is part II of a conversation with Shakespeare scholar Richard Knowles, Professor of English at UW-Madison, about linguistic aspects of Shakespeare’s works. This podcast focuses on grammar — the usage of pronouns (“thou” vs. “you”), the rise of the auxiliary “do”, the point of double negation, and the distinction (or lack thereof) between adjectives and adverbs. It also provides you with advice on creative swearing!

Are you looking for the list of swearing terms mentioned in the podcast? Click here

Podcast #6: What’s Up With Slang?

Click here to start podcast (18 mins., 15 MB)

In this podcast, a project for English 338 (Linguistic Perspectives on the Study of Words in English), UW-Madison English linguistics graduate students Nora Dahl and Scott LaFaive discuss English slang — what it is, where it comes from, how it is dealt with in dictionaries.

[Music is “Hearts Erase” from Penston]

Podcast #7: Falling Down a Button Hole

Click here to start podcast (18 mins., 15 MB)

In this podcast, a project for English 338 (Linguistic Perspectives on the Study of Words in English), Craig Allan and Cheng-Wen Huang, both (graduate) students at UW-Madison, discuss how the meaning of words changes over time and how new words are formed. Learn about the history of notorious, buttonhole, and checkmate.

[Music and play excerpt are from Sutton, S. (Producer, 2001): Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen of Verona. BBC Television production. New York: Ambrose Video Pub.]

Podcast #8: Happy Birthday, Dr. Johnson

Click here to start podcast (18 mins., 17 MB)

In this podcast, English Professor and 18th century specialist Robin Valenza discusses Dr. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language and his role as a linguist. The podcast commemorates Johnson’s 300th birthday.

Podcast #9: Growing up Bilingual

Click here to start podcast (17 mins., 15 MB)

In this podcast, Professors Anja Wanner and Rita Kaushanskaya, Department of Communicative Disorders, discuss insights from cognitive and psycholinguistic research on growing up bilingual.

Podcast #10: The Forest and the Trees

Click here to start podcast (16 mins., 14 MB)

Professor Diana Frantzen (Spanish & Portuguese) talks about the role of grammar and grammar awareness in second language instruction. Current practices seem to be focused on content (the “forest”) rather than form (“the trees”). Professor Frantzen suggests a more grammar-focused model.

This project was supported with an Engage Award from DoIT, the Division of Informational Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the English Department. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License. Music is from ccMixter (“Sunrise” by DeutscheUnschuld). Special thanks to Ron Cramer and Doug Worsham from L&S Learning Support Services for making professional studio recordings of the interviews.