Episodes 1-20

Uppity Women In this episode we discuss the dreaded vocal fry. We explain what vocal fry actually is, who uses it (cough everyone cough), and why we judge only women for using it. Carrie and Megan ask you to stop judging women for using vocal fry – it’s a proxy for sexism and anyway, it’s everywhere.

Foul-Mouthed Women Have you ever wondered why swearing feels so good? Carrie and Megan explain what counts as swearing and why it’s so fun to swear. They also discuss what types of words become profane over time and how swearing varies across languages and cultures. Also, they swear a lot. gasp

Southern Fried Megan and Carrie talk to Beth Troutman about what it’s like to be a Southerner in politics and TV, discuss some Southern American English features, and why it’s uncool to judge regional accents.

Grammar Not-zi Carrie and Megan talk about prescriptive grammar, grammar peeving, and how most of the rules you were taught about English were made up by a few white dudes way back when. Turns out, prescriptivism is racist, classist, and ableist, and enforcing these rules kinda make you a jerk. They also discuss how they had been trained in high school to be prescriptivists, and how linguistics helped them become less biased.

On the Rez Megan and Carrie interview Dr. Peter Jacobs, Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Simon Fraser University, where he works on language revitalization. They talk about Rez English(es) (the varieties of English spoken on reserves/reservations), indigenous languages of the United States and Canada, and language revitalization.

A Sirious Problem Do Siri or Alexa have problems understanding you? Learn why, with Carrie and Megan. They talk to Dr. Rachael Tatman about Automatic Speech Recognition (the technology responsible for Siri and Alexa) and why it might be as biased as humans are.

Freaky Fryday Megan and Carrie chat about superstitions, special numbers and the real meaning of ‘witch hunt’, all while (mis?)pronouncing triskaidekaphobia. It’s the spookiest episode yet!

Borderlands/La frontera Carrie and Megan chat with award-winning Chicano Poet Dr. Alberto Álvaro Ríos about living on the border between the US and Mexico and between English and Spanish.

ChicaNO? ChicanYES! Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Carmen Fought about Chicano English, why it matters, and why it isn’t the same as Spanglish. Carmen Fought is a Professor of Linguistics at Pitzer College.

Down in the Holler Carrie and Megan talk with Dr. Paul Reed, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders at the University of Alabama. They discuss Appalachian English (and how it’s the Southerniest of Southern), hollers, and Jack tales.

French (Canadian) Fries Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Nicole Rosen, Canada Research Chair in Language Interactions at the University of Manitoba about Canadian French, including Laurentian, Acadian and Métis French. We discuss the politics, history and features of Canadian French, including the distinct features of the variety spoken in Winnipeg (where Nicole is from).

Two Canadians, an Australian and an American walk into a Linguistics Conference…what is this, a crossover episode? In this special episode of the Vocal Fries, Carrie and Megan chat with Gretchen McCulloch and Dr. Lauren Gawne of the Lingthusiasm podcast about Australian and Canadian English while at the Linguistics Society of America‘s annual conference.

We’re Ghana Talk English Megan and Carrie talk with Selikem Gotah, Masters student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, about Ghanaian English, Ghanaian Pidgin English, and other languages of Ghana. Learn a little about the history of Ghana and the status of English, Pidgin and other languages in Ghana.

They/Them/Theirs Carrie and Megan talk with Kirby Conrod, doctoral student at University of Washington, about trans language, including pronoun usage and singular they.

Basque-ing in the European Sun Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Itxaso Rodríguez-Ordóñez, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, about Basque and the discrimination Basque speakers deal with in Spain and France.

Black Lives Matter Carrie and Megan talk with Dr. Ersula Ore, Assistant Professor of African & African American Studies at Arizona State University, about rhetoric, respectability politics, and her arrest near campus back in 2014. Her story intersects with the larger conversation about black life in America, including the story of Sandra Bland. Content note: this conversation includes mentions of rape, lynching and police brutality.

Literally Exploding with Nerd Rage Megan and Carrie discuss Time’s/The Muse’s list of “bad” words. HEAVY SIGH.

Don’t Be An Accenthole Carrie and Megan talk with Ethan Kutlu, PhD student at the University of Florida about foreign accented speech (FAS), which foreign accents are judged more harshly, and why we should stop judging FAS.

Troublesome Terps Megan and Carrie talk with Alexander Drechsel, Alexander Gansmeier and Jonathan Downie of the Troublesome Terps in this special crossover episode.

Calling London Carrie and Megan talk with Issa Wurie, cohost of the Young Free and Coupled podcast, about South London dialects and slang.