Wherein we discuss how linguistics is everywhere but linguists are nowhere, and introduce the concept of the unsolicited etymology swear jar.

Jump right to:

  • 01:33 “Universal” word lists, bad puns, and university “field work” stories
  • 07:25 What composes an accent? What counts as a dialect? What about “little kid speak”?
  • 24:16 What are the most valuable ways linguistics can improve society?
  • 45:45 Favorite ridiculous etymologies
  • 54:31 The puzzler: What do the words JOB, POLISH, and HERB have in common?

Covered in this episode:

  • We love Car Talk
  • Dialects and accents often overlap but are not the same thing
  • Dialects and registers also often overlap but are not the same thing
  • Obligatory “A language is just a dialect with an army and a navy.”
  • Linguistics After Dark has no official positions on contentious geopolitical issues
  • Understanding the value of descriptivism and the reality of language evolution
  • Hot takes on regional identity in the UK vs North America vs California
  • Why don’t journalists know that linguists exist?
  • “It has nothing to do with financial advising, and everything to do with geese”, or “how Sarah had previously told this story and wishes she’d said it on mic”
  • OK is the only acronym etymology that’s all correct

Links and other post-show thoughts:


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

And until next time… if you weren’t consciously aware of your tongue in your mouth, now you are :)