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The Secret Life of Language

The Secret Life of Language dives into the cultures, arts, and histories that underpin and inform the diverse languages we speak. From the studios of the University of Melbourne’s School of Languages and Linguistics.

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Warning: This podcast has few episodes.

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Life behind the Wall: How are we to remember East Germany?

Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent demise of the German Democratic Republic, how should we remember life in the famously authoritarian state? German studies researchers Alison Lewis and Claudia Sandberg join host Leo Kretzenbacher to look back at how ordinary East Germans negotiated their lives and livelihoods in the self-proclaimed “most egalitarian society in Europe”. First of a two-part conversation. A podcast from the University of Melbourne's School of Languages and Linguistics. Produced by Eric van Bemmel and Kelvin Param of Profactual, and Gavin Nebauer.

34mins

15 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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Beyond words: In the field with indigenous languages

The world speaks some 6,700 languages, and 4,000 of them are spoken by indigenous peoples, who make up less than 6% of the global population. In this episode, we speak with researchers who venture into the world’s remotest corners in their quest to document languages, to help revive or reinforce community tongues, or to discover what even a single, little-known language may have to teach us about the way humans communicate. Linguist Assoc Prof Nick Thieberger and cultural anthropologist Dr Debra McDougall are joined by hosts Charlotte Mackay and Peter Hurst.A podcast from the University of Melbourne's School of Languages and Linguistics. Produced by Eric van Bemmel and Kelvin Param of Profactual, Gavin Nebauer, Charlotte Mackay and Peter Hurst.

29mins

19 Feb 2020

Rank #2

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Life behind the Wall: What have we lost with the fall of East Germany?

In the second of a two-part conversation, we look back at life as it really was for ordinary people "behind the Iron Curtain" in the now defunct German Democratic Republic. German studies researchers Alison Lewis and Claudia Sandberg join host Leo Kretzenbacher to examine East German pop culture and film, uses of language and humour, and notions of identity either side of the Berlin Wall.A podcast from the University of Melbourne's School of Languages and Linguistics. Produced by Eric van Bemmel and Kelvin Param of Profactual, and Gavin Nebauer.

34mins

15 Jan 2020

Rank #3

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The Stasi Files

In stories adapted from the declassified files of the Stasi, East Germany's secret police, we examine the roles of informer and victim in which so many ordinary East Germans found themselves over the four decades before the fall of the Berlin Wall. German studies researcher Alison Lewis also helps us decode the broader impact of the Stasi's tentacles and its lasting legacy. Presented by Leo Kretzenbacher.A podcast from the University of Melbourne's School of Languages and Linguistics.Produced by Eric van Bemmel and Kelvin Param of Profactual, Gavin Nebauer, and Alison Lewis.Download the transcript.

30mins

4 Dec 2019

Rank #4

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The Stasi Files - Teaser

This is a teaser for The Secret Life of Language, a podcast from the University of Melbourne's School of Languages and Linguistics. Watch this space for upcoming episodes.

1min

27 Nov 2019

Rank #5