Topics

For those who might want to use our episodes in the classroom, we have some suggested topics, with associated episodes:

Sexism

Episode 1: 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.

Episode 2: 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

Episode 21: Learning to Love Like Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Alexandra D’Arcy Associate Professor at the University of Victoria, Director of the Sociolinguistics Research Lab and author of “Discourse-Pragmatic Variation in Context: Eight Hundred Years of like” about the many guises of “like”. Learn why “like” is useful and older than you think it is.

Episode 27: Keep Calm and Fry On Megan and Carrie discuss their first year of podcasting, what they’ve learned from the experience, and how vocal fry will haunt them forever.

Vocal Fry

Episode 1: 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.

Episode 27: Keep Calm and Fry On Megan and Carrie discuss their first year of podcasting, what they’ve learned from the experience, and how vocal fry will haunt them forever.

Episode 33: Salt Fat Acid SHADE Megan and Carrie answer your questions about jerk linguists, the alt right and vocal fry.

Episode 40: Beyoncé, Hoodies and Obama Linguistics Carrie and Megan talk with Dr. Nicole Holliday, Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Pomona College about Black English, biracial language, vocal fry, intonation, and the field of Obama linguistics.

Southern American English

Episode 3: 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.

Episode 10: 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.

Prescriptive Grammar

Episode 4: 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.

Episode 17: Literally Exploding with Nerd Rage Megan and Carrie discuss Time’s/The Muse’s list of “bad” words. HEAVY SIGH.

Canada

Episode 5: 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.

Episode 11: French (Canadian) Fries Megan and Carrie talk with 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.

Episode 12: Two Canadians, an Australian and an American Walk into a Linguistic Conference… What is This? A Crossover Episode? In this special episode of the Vocal Fries, Carrie and Megan chat with Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne of Lingthusiasm about Australian and Canadian English while at the Linguistics Society of America’s annual conference.

Episode 34: The Rock was the Rock before the Rock, b’y Carrie and Megan talk with Tracy O’Brien, literature PhD student at the University of Toronto, about all things Newfoundland. Yes b’y.

Indigenous Languages of North America

Episode 5: 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.

Episode 42: Water is Life Carrie and Megan talk with Nicole Horseherder, Diné from Arizona, about Diné Bizaad (aka Navajo).

Language and Technology

Episode 6: 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.

Episode 22: There Is No Try, There Is Only Du…olingo Carrie and Megan talk with Joan Palmiter Bajorek, PhD candidate at the University of Arizona, about the issues around learning a second language via educational technology.

Halloween

Episode 7: Freaky Friday 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!

Episode 32: Bat Signals It’s another Halloween episode! Megan and Carrie talk about bats, wolves and … prairie dogs?

Chicano English and Culture

Episode 8: Borderlands/La frontera Carrie and Megan chat with award-winning Chicano Poet Alberto Álvaro Ríos about living on the border between the US and Mexico and between English and Spanish.

Episode 9: ChicaNO? ChicanYES! Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Carmen Fought, Professor of Linguistics at Pitzer College, about Chicano English, why it matters, and why it isn’t the same as Spanglish.

French in North America

Episode 11: French (Canadian) Fries Megan and Carrie talk with 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.

Episode 30: Neaux French Left Behind Carrie and Megan talk with Dr. Nathalie Dajko, Assistant Professor at Tulane University, about varieties of French in Louisiana and the history of French and revitalization efforts in the region.

Australia

Episode 12: Two Canadians, an Australian and an American Walk into a Linguistic Conference… What is This? A Crossover Episode? In this special episode of the Vocal Fries, Carrie and Megan chat with Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne of Lingthusiasm about Australian and Canadian English while at the Linguistics Society of America’s annual conference.

Episode 43: Maaate, Don’t Come the Raw Prawn with Me, Alright? Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Tony McMahon from RMIT about all things bogan and Australia.

Africa/Ghana

Episode 13: 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.

Inclusive Language/Singular They

Episode 14: 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.

Episode 31: Todos/Todas/Todes Carrie and Megan talk with Dr. Santiago Kalinowski, Director of the the Linguistics Department at the Argentinian Academy of Letters, about lenguaje inclusivo/inclusive language in Spanish.

Basque

Episode 15: Basque-ing in the European Sun Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Itxaso Rodríguez-Ordóñez from Southern Illinois University Carbondale about Basque and the discrimination Basque speakers deal with in Spain and France.

Europe

Episode 15: Basque-ing in the European Sun Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Itxaso Rodríguez-Ordóñez from Southern Illinois University Carbondale about Basque and the discrimination Basque speakers deal with in Spain and France.

Episode 20: Calling London Carrie and Megan talk with Issa Wurie, cohost of the Young Free and Coupled podcast, about South London dialects and slang.

Black English and Rhetoric

Episode 16: Black Lives Matter Carrie and Megan talk with Dr. Ersula Ore, Assistant Professor in Rhetoric 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.

Episode 40: Beyoncé, Hoodies and Obama Linguistics Carrie and Megan talk with Dr. Nicole Holliday, Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Pomona College about Black English, biracial language, vocal fry, intonation, and the field of Obama linguistics.

Accents

Episode 18: 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.

Episode 26: Ope, Just Gonna Sneak Right Past Ya and Grab the Ranch: Carrie and Megan talk with Amanda and Lucy from the Wine and Crime podcast about all things Minnesota.

Translation

Episode 19: Troublesome Terps Megan and Carrie talk with Alexander Drechsel, Alexander Gansmeier and Jonathan Downie of the Troublesome Terps in this special crossover episode.

Music

Episode 23: Rock ‘n’ Rhotic Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Bob Kennedy of the University of California, Santa Barbara about accents in song, including which accents are associated with which genres, appropriation of those accents, and r’s.

Latinx

Episode 25: Don’t Mind the Gap Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Nelson Flores, newly minted Associate Professor of Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania about the so-called 30 million word gap, why it is problematic, and how better to think about the language children hear around them.

Episode 31: Todos/Todas/Todes Carrie and Megan talk with Dr. Santiago Kalinowski, Director of the the Linguistics Department at the Argentinian Academy of Letters, about lenguaje inclusivo/inclusive language in Spanish.

Episode 36: Latino Threat Narrative Carrie and Megan talk with Dr. Matthew Garley, Assistant Professor at CUNY, York College, about the use of Spanish and Spanglish in rap.

Episode 37: Bilingualism isn’t just for White Kids Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Abby Bajuniemi about heritage languages and heritage language speakers.

Episode 38: Looking Like a Language, Sounding like a Podcast Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Jonathan Rosa, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics at Stanford University, about his forthcoming book “Looking Like a Language, Sounding Like a Race”.

Language and Education

Episode 25: Don’t Mind the Gap Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Nelson Flores, newly minted Associate Professor of Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania about the so-called 30 million word gap, why it is problematic, and how better to think about the language children hear around them.

Episode 37: Bilingualism isn’t just for White Kids Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Abby Bajuniemi about heritage languages and heritage language speakers.

Minnesota

Episode 26: Ope, Just Gonna Sneak Right Past Ya and Grab the Ranch: Carrie and Megan talk with Amanda and Lucy from the Wine and Crime podcast about all things Minnesota.

East Coast Dialects of North American English

Episode 28: Down the Shore Carrie and Megan talk with Lou Capetta of the Lou Capetta Show with Jay Burke about all things New Jersey, including the Sopranos, the Jersey Shore and water ice.

Episode 34: The Rock was the Rock before the Rock, b’y Carrie and Megan talk with Tracy O’Brien, literature PhD student at the University of Toronto, about all things Newfoundland. Yes b’y.

Episode 35: How Millennials are Ruining the Philly Accent Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Betsy Sneller, Postdoc at Georgetown University about all things Philadelphia English.

Louisiana

Episode 29: Means Doesn’t Rhyme with New Orleans Megan and Carrie talk with Lisa Sprowls, PhD student at Tulane University about New Orleans English(es), especially Yat and the Garden District dialects, and speakers perception of New Orleans dialects.

Episode 30: Neaux French Left Behind Carrie and Megan talk with Dr. Nathalie Dajko, Assistant Professor at Tulane University, about varieties of French in Louisiana and the history of French and revitalization efforts in the region.

Heritage Languages

Episode 37: Bilingualism isn’t just for White Kids Megan and Carrie talk with Dr. Abby Bajuniemi about heritage languages and heritage language speakers.

Language Acquisition

Episode 39: The Kids are Alright Carrie interviews Megan about child language acquisition and why correcting kids’ “mistakes” is not worth your time.

Language and the Law

Episode 41: On the Basis of Voice Megan and Carrie talk with Kelly Wright, PhD student at the University of Michigan, about housing discrimination via dialect discrimination.