Wherein we #GiveLinguistsSwords.

Two notes about this episode:

  • This recording cut out a lot of background noise and claps/cheers, so if there is a weird volume jump up or down, it’s us doing our best to keep the audio listenable.
  • We also have a rich text transcript, since there are a lot of non-English words and word mentions in this episode, and our normal plaintext transcript can’t do italics.

Jump right to:

  • 00:04:42 Is syntax fake?
  • 00:10:14 Favorite and least favorite words
  • 00:23:48 How has profanity evolved with language?
  • 00:34:40 What are the rules for onomatopoeia and how do they differ across languages?
  • 00:41:13 What is lenition?
  • 00:47:56 How do puns work in other languages?
  • 01:02:15 What are fricatives?
  • 01:02:33 The LxAD backstory
  • 01:06:19 The first time we bring up L’Académie
  • 01:08:12 Dead languages work poorly on the internet
  • 01:12:44 Best stories of word mix-ups
  • 01:18:12 How do colors work in different languages?
  • 01:29:01 “It’s all Greek to me”
  • 01:29:55 Where did the word orange come from?
  • 01:31:36 Dialect-dependent homophones
  • 01:34:56 What’s the most useless part of language?
  • 01:40:29 Why is English spelling wonderful?
  • 01:59:42 Sarah has to pronounce the hardest IPA sounds
  • 02:07:30 The Thing At The End

Covered in this episode:

  • Kewpie mayo
  • That feeling you get when someone else is suffering and you’re just glad it’s not you
  • How to be rude and insulting but still G-rated
  • Translator love
  • On a scale of dead to Amish…
  • How to accidentally come on to someone in Spanish and ASL
  • Cappuccinos
  • Moose
  • Dessus vs. dessous

Links and other post-show thoughts:

Ask us questions:

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


Linguistics After Dark is produced by Emfozzing Enterprises. Luca edits, Sarah does show notes, transcription is a team effort. Our music is “Covert Affair” by Kevin MacLeod. Join us at linguisticsafterdark.com/volunteer! And until next time… if you weren’t consciously aware of your tongue in your mouth, now you are :)