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Linguistics After Dark

8 EpisodesProduced by Linguistics After DarkWebsite

Linguistics After Dark is a podcast where three linguists (and sometimes other people) answer your burning questions about language, linguistics, and whatever else you need advice about. We have three rules: any question is fair game, there's no research allowed, and if we can't answer, we have to d… read more

44:04

Episode 1: Batman's Batsman

Our very first episode, answering real language questions from real listeners! And boy do we live up to our no-research policy. (What is the truth about bubblers? TEACH THE CONTROVERSY!)

Jump right to:

  • 00:43 Thing of the Day: Ambiguity (...or is it?)
  • 04:28 In the English word ⟨scent⟩, is the ⟨s⟩ or the ⟨c⟩ silent?
  • 11:50 Has our study of linguistics caused us to consciously change how we talk?
  • 25:48 How should you pluralize superhero names?
  • 34:37 Can "informal" mean "giving information to the reader" along with "not formal"?
  • 39:30 The Puzzler: Can you find a word that has three double letters in a row?

Covered in this episode:

  • Fun with affixes!
  • English “soft c” spelling rules
  • Awkward teenage spelling reform phases
  • A hot take not taken
  • Obligatory (incorrect) citation of the Martha’s Vineyard accent study
  • How to tell if you should study linguistics
  • Obligatory mention of “bubbler”
  • Why is “bubbler” localised SO SPECIFICALLY?
  • Everyone needs to see Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
  • Hot takes on Spider-Men, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Attorney General
  • In-laws and Sinlaws
  • Obligatory Latin-based explanations
  • ⟨bassoon⟩ and ⟨balloon⟩ are basically the same word

Links and other post-show thoughts:

  • We have no link to back up Sarah’s assertion that ⟨sc⟩ makes an [ʃ] sound in Late Latin and modern Italian, despite a wide search. However, ⟨conscious⟩ is an English word where ⟨sc⟩ makes an [ʃ] sound, so that's almost as good.
  • The Nantucket study, which was actually done in Martha’s Vineyard (no research, y'all)
  • Confirmed: Kohler is a town named after the company named after the founding family
  • Bubbler is related to a Kohler trademark 
  • Bubbler is not related to a Kohler trademark 
  • I don't know what to think about bubbler anymore (They exist in Portland, OR, too!)
  • Fun fact: Sarah heard “Spider-Mans” in the wild the week after we recorded this podcast, explaining that "Into the Spider-Verse" has six total “Spider-Mans”. Native speaker intuition for the win!
  • Etymologies of inform versus informal
  • Turns out that ⟨informative⟩ ALSO used to be an inflammable-style contranym! (Well, sort of. It used to mean ⟨formative⟩. What even.)

Ask us questions:

Send your questions (text or voice memo) to questions@linguisticsafterdark.com, or find us as @lxadpodcast on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Credits:

Linguistics After Dark is produced by Emfozzing Enterprises. Eli edits, Jenny transcribes, and Sarah does show notes. Our music is "Covert Affair" by Kevin McLeod.

Thanks for listening!

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