My Favorite Podcasts, Part 3: Podcasts About Language
Last time, I told you about my favorite podcasts about food. Because what’s more important than food?? It may be the most important thing, but it’s not the only thing. I do spread my passions around. Wait, that didn’t sound right. Anyway!
This time, I reveal my inner word nerd and share my favorite podcasts about language! I admit, I get excited about words. (You already know my pathological fascination with names). I can while away a good hour listening to the history of language while I’m out running, or just running errands. That is, if the kids aren’t testing my own language skills with questions like “WHY is this block big?”
My first recollection of geeking out over a word was when I was about ten and my grandpa told me the refrigerator brand name Frigidaire was actually two words put together: frigid and air! To me, it was like a puzzle and the prize was knowing the secret behind the words. I was hooked then, and I am still.
These are the juiciest podcasts about language:
Like a true gift for word nerds. Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette delve into etymology, regional preferences (do you say “soda,” “pop,” or “coke?” What you say will likely reveal where you grew up!), and the history of phrases such as “Humdinger,” and “White on Rice.” While the information is straight out of a college textbook, it’s delivered in a friendly and frequently humorous way.
Recently, I learned the origin of bank “teller.” I enthusiastically explained the story to Cute Banker, figuring he’d be just as geeked as I was but, well, let’s just say he has yet to share it with his staff. (It comes from an old, alternate meaning of “tell,” which is “to count.” This supplants our previous theory that it meant something along the lines of “one who tells off annoying customers”).
Grammar tips in a snappy, modern, and, dare I say, cool style. Host Mignon Fogarty keeps episodes short and keeps your attention. Being a single host format, it’s a bit more like you’re taking a class than the conversational A Way with Words, but, if you really want to know why we have both “color” and “colour,” you’ll like Grammar Girl.
While we’re on the topic of language, there’s a new website I might mention. My friend Patricia Shepard brings you the latest and greatest questions (and answers) about “words, books, college admissions, and more…” She’s smart, funny, and the kind of gal you really want to have at your cocktail party. Short of that, check out her site to beef up your own juicy tidbits.
Next up: Podcasts about Parenting!
What are your favorite podcasts?