7 of the Best Podcasts About Language
Podcasts are more popular now than ever before, with a podcast on every topic from paranormal investigations to ancient history.
They can be an inspiring educational or proofreading tool as well as a way to make learning more fun. You can even listen to a podcast while doing work and household chores, making them great for multitasking!
In this post, our tutors share some of their favorite language-themed podcasts. So if you have an interest in proofreading, editing, or language in general, take a look – and have a listen!
1. Grammar Girl
Hosted by writer Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl is a short, grammar-focused podcast that aims to help people improve their writing skills.
Each episode focuses on a handful of English language-related subjects or questions – usually submitted by listeners. These can vary from common grammatical issues, such as split infinitives, to more complex questions about writing style. Each subject is explored in a straightforward and informative way with some lighthearted humor thrown in.
Episodes of Grammar Girl are between 10 and 20 minutes long, so you can easily listen to one while washing the dishes or binge a few at a time!
2. Merriam-Webster Word Matters
Produced by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the Word Matters podcast explores unusual word origins, the role of grammatical rules, and the evolution of language.
Rather than simply focusing on the “right” and “wrong” ways to use English, Word Matters asks questions about why we use language the way we do and how it can impact our lives. This makes it an intriguing podcast for anyone fascinated by the complexity of language!
Each episode brings together a group of Merriam-Webster’s editors, giving Word Matters the atmosphere of a fun and passionate discussion between friends while remaining informative.
3. Spectacular Vernacular
Another podcast that explores how language is changing is Spectacular Vernacular, hosted by linguist Nicole Holliday and language columnist Ben Zimmer.
Episodes of Spectacular Vernacular feature special guests and up-to-date topics that often relate to current events. The hosts explain and discuss language in a way that is accessible to both beginner and expert linguists, and, for fans of games like Wordle, the word puzzles and quizzes at the end of each episode make for a fun challenge!
4. Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day
This daily 2-minute podcast gives a bit more background on the Dictionary.com’s word of the day. It’s a great way to expand your vocabulary while learning about the definitions, usage, and etymology of individual words one day at a time.
While the episodes may be short, they pack in a bunch of information that’s sure to please any language enthusiast and can make an interesting addition to your daily routine!
5. Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day
Like Dictionary.com’s podcast of the same name, Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day podcast provides a definition and related quotation for the daily word featured on their website. Each 1- to 2-minute episode is narrated calmly and clearly by one of Merriam-Webster’s editors.
If learning about just one word a day isn’t enough for you, then both Merriam-Webster’s and Dictionary.com’s daily podcasts work as great companions to each other!
Produced by the Linguistic Society of America, Subtitle is a podcast that explores languages beyond just English.
From endangered languages to multilingual speakers to code-switching, each episode of Subtitle takes a look at an aspect of language and the people who speak it. It provides a fascinating and well-researched look at how language can both divide and unite us as well as how it has shaped the world we live in.
Episodes are 25–30 minutes long, making them the perfect audio companion for your lunch break!
7. Lexicon Valley
Lexicon Valley, hosted by linguist John McWhorter, takes an in-depth look at how we speak, read, and write.
Episodes largely focus on the history of the English language, explaining how we used words in the past and why we use them the way we do today. Lexicon Valley covers topics like differences in dialect, misinterpretations, and ways that language can be used to inform, persuade, or even confuse.
Episodes are released about every two weeks and can vary from 30 minutes to an hour or more in length – but this is a detailed podcast you’ll want to make time for!
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