OwlTail

Cover image of Spectacular Vernacular

Spectacular Vernacular

Linguist Nicole Holliday and Wall Street Journal language columnist Ben Zimmer discuss the ways language is changing, talk to scholars and writers, and set and solve word puzzles.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

All episodes

The best episodes ranked using user listens.

Podcast cover

Private Parts

What does a rooster have to do with male genitalia anyway?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

41mins

10 Dec 2019

Rank #1

Podcast cover

A Bisl Yiddish

Add to German a large helping of Hebrew and a dollop of Slavic. Stir. Let marinate. Enjoy!Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

47mins

24 Dec 2019

Rank #2

Similar Podcasts

Podcast cover

A Penetrating History of F*%k

English speakers have been getting it on with the F-word for centuries.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

45mins

8 Jan 2019

Rank #3

Podcast cover

Lexicon Valley #3: Consider the Lamppost

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the hypercorrected incorrectness of "between you and I." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

30mins

20 Feb 2012

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

Podcast cover

Seven Centuries of F--ks

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to Jesse Sheidlower, author of The F-Word, about a recent discovery in the history of one our most enduring expletives. Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theater Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34mins

5 Oct 2015

Rank #5

Podcast cover

The Pronouning of Profanities

John McWhorter on the way in which words like f*ck and sh*t are increasingly standing in for it and that.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34mins

12 Jun 2018

Rank #6

Podcast cover

Why Do Some Americans Say Warshed?

The letter R has a habit of intruding on spoken English. How come?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

48mins

14 May 2019

Rank #7

Podcast cover

A Cat, a Coward, and Female Genitalia

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the etymological quirkiness of the word "pussy." Lexicon Valley is brought to you by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theater. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34mins

2 Nov 2015

Rank #8

Podcast cover

Lexicon Valley #4: Jumpin' Salty in The O

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the vernacular wrapped in a dialect inside a language that some call Ebonics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

41mins

27 Feb 2012

Rank #9

Podcast cover

Zombie English

Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.Long-dead elements of the language still haunt our everyday speech.Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34mins

29 Oct 2019

Rank #10

Podcast cover

The Blaccent: What Does It Mean to Sound Black?

Linguist John McWhorter argues that it makes perfect sense for the speech of black and white Americans to have subtle differences.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

29mins

3 May 2016

Rank #11

Podcast cover

The Inner Workings of Out

John McWhorter on the rich complexities of a humble preposition.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

35mins

20 Feb 2018

Rank #12

Podcast cover

The Language of Female Friendships

John McWhorter discusses communication styles with linguist Deborah Tannen, author of You're the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women's Friendships.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

36mins

2 May 2017

Rank #13

Podcast cover

Why Do Southerners Talk Like That?

John McWhorter dissects the many distinct features that make up Southern speech.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39mins

2 Oct 2018

Rank #14

Podcast cover

Sex Workers

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo discuss the authoress, the usherette, and the editrix with Anne Curzan, the lady professor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

35mins

23 Feb 2015

Rank #15

Podcast cover

Men, Women and Children

What is it with people and animals and irregular plurals?Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus.Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

37mins

12 Nov 2019

Rank #16

Podcast cover

Your Brain on Profanity

Benjamin K. Bergen, author of the upcoming What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, andOurselves, discusses the science of cursing.Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalleyFacebook: facebook.com/LexiconValleyEmail: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

34mins

31 May 2016

Rank #17

Podcast cover

The Many Lives of Anna Karenina

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo talk to journalist and author Masha Gessen about translating Tolstoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

39mins

26 Jan 2015

Rank #18

Podcast cover

Like, Why Do We Use Like So Much?

John McWhorter talks to sociolinguist Alexandra D'Arcy about the spike in our use of like. Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at www.slate.com/podcastsplus. Twitter: @lexiconvalley Facebook: facebook.com/LexiconValley Email: lexiconvalley@slate.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

35mins

7 Feb 2017

Rank #19

Podcast cover

Number Theory

Bob Garfield and Mike Vuolo ask the question: How did we go from "four and twenty" to "twenty four"?Show notes at www.slate.com/lexiconvalley. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

29mins

3 Nov 2014

Rank #20