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Word of Mouth Podcast

English, Public-Community, 1 season, 175 episodes, 3 days, 10 hours, 25 minutes
About
Series exploring the world of words and the ways in which we use them
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Little Green Men: the secret rules of word order

Michael explores the mysterious rules of word order with linguist Dr Laura Bailey. We all know them instinctively, without knowing that we know them. Contains the truth about killer whales and also why Yoda sounds like an alien.Produced for BBC Audio Bristol by Beth O'Dea.
6/13/202428 minutes, 3 seconds
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Word of Mouth with Michael Morpurgo at the Hay Festival

Michael meets fellow children's author Michael Morpurgo - author of over 150 books - including Kensuke's Kingdom, Private Peaceful and Warhorse. They talk words, writing, books and language and why it's so important that children learn to love reading at an early age.Producer: Maggie Ayre
6/6/202443 minutes, 40 seconds
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Language When There Are No Words

Joshua Reno talks about how Charlie, his non-verbal son who is on the autism spectrum, communicates with him very effectively using gestures known as "home signs". Joshua is the author of Home Signs: An Ethnography of Life beyond and beside Language.Produced for BBC Audio Bristol by Sally Heaven
5/30/202427 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Irish Language

In conversation with Michael about his book "32 Words For Field" Manchán Magan reveals Ireland's deep connection with the landscape expressed through the Irish language. The author traces his country's relationship with the natural world and its corresponding belief system that encompasses the 'otherworld'. He lists many similarities between Irish and Sanskrit and even Arabic - suggesting a link between the ancient Islamic word Shamrakh and the Irish Seamróg (shamrock). It's a fascinating discussion of a rich and poetic language that survives in traditional communities on the west coast and is being enthusiastically revived in the cities. Manchán also lists the many words that we use in English that have come from Irish and Scots Gaelic: words like 'bog' 'whisky' 'hooligan' and Tory. We also learn a bit of Hiberno-English along the way.Producer: Maggie Ayre for BBC Audio BristolA longer version of this programme is available on the podcast
5/23/202435 minutes, 2 seconds
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Disaster Dialogue

Professor Lucy Easthope explains why language is important in the aftermath of a disaster, why some words are useful and some can be damaging.Produced for BBC Audio Bristol by Sally Heaven
5/16/202427 minutes, 35 seconds
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Football Club Names

Dominic Fifield explains how football clubs got their names, uncovering a fascinating social history behind the Wanderers, Wednesdays and Villas.Produced for BBC Audio Bristol by Sally Heaven
5/9/202427 minutes, 34 seconds
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How to Think Like an Anthropologist, with Gillian Tett

"If you want to hide something in the 21st century world, you don't need to create a James Bond style plot. Just cover it in acronyms". Gillian Tett is a columnist at the Financial Times, but she initially trained as a cultural anthropologist, studying marriage rituals in Tajikistan. She joins Michael Rosen to discuss how the study of language has been vital to her work, who continues to see the world through the lens of an anthropologist. The pair talk about the etymology of words like 'company', 'office', and 'bank', why we should all speak more like the Dutch, how Brits in the workplace are more similar to the Japanese, and why it would be useful for all of us to think more like an anthropologist. Gillian Tett is the author of Fool's Gold, The Silo Effect, and Antho-Vision. Producer: Eliza Lomas, BBC Audio Bristol.
2/20/202427 minutes, 46 seconds
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Family Sayings

Michael shares listeners' stories about the words and phrases passed down in their families that they keep using, and what they mean to them. With Rob Drummond, Professor of Sociolinguistics at Manchester Met University, and author of You’re All Talk: why we are what we speak. Producer Beth O'Dea, BBC Audio Bristol
2/13/202427 minutes, 43 seconds
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Are you different in another language?

Michael Rosen talks to neuroscientist Dr Julia Ravey about whether we think and act differently when speaking a non-native language.More and more people are finding themselves speaking multiple languages in our cross-cultural societies. But when we communicate in a different tongue, do we become a different person? From the decisions we make to the memories we form, research in neuroscience and psychology has begun exploring this fascinating area, which not only offers insights into the linguistic brain, but also calls into question if our ‘core self’ is a as stable as we like to think it is…Producer: Becky Ripley
2/6/202427 minutes, 47 seconds
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Words for Sale!

Michael Rosen explores how language has become an online commodity, with Dr Pip Thornton, Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Dr Thornton explains, with the help of auction props and a receipt machine, what happens to the words that we put into an online search and how the engines make money from our words and phrases. We discover why William Wordsworth's daffodils and clouds have had their context 'stolen', how Lewis Carroll wrote an incredibly 'cheap' poem and why mesothelioma is the most 'expensive' word. Plus Michael proposes a new form of poetry - the Monetised School of Poetry. Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Ellie Richold
1/23/202427 minutes, 49 seconds
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Unequal English

Michael Rosen is joined by language scholar Ruanni Tupas, to discuss Unequal English - how native English is perceived differently, depending on where you come from.Ruanni, who's from the Philippines and also spent two decades in Singapore, has spent his career thinking about what it means to be a native English speaker when you come from somewhere other than the West. He chats with Michael about his own experience of speaking four languages (English and three Philippine languages), how being judged by how he spoke English at university affected the rest of his life and research, and what it means for his children speaking English as a first language, havng grown up in Singapore. They also discuss what is really meant by English as a 'global language', and why he prefers thinking of multi-lingualism as having a language repertoire. Ruanni Tupas is Associate Professor of Sociolinguistics at UCL, London.Produced by Eliza Lomas for BBC Audio Bristol
1/22/202427 minutes, 51 seconds
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A Life in Lexicography

Grant Barrett is a lexicographer, linguist, author, editor, founder of Wordnik and Head of Lexicography at Dictionary.com. He also co-hosts A Way With Words, a phone in show about language, which airs coast to coast across the United States. He and Michael discuss the joy of flicking through a dictionary with friends vs the fast return of an online look-up, the history of dictionaries, and Grant's favourite area of language: sociolinguistics - "where the rubber meets the road", as he puts it. Producer: Ellie Richold
1/17/202427 minutes, 39 seconds
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Writing Comedy with Isy Suttie

Isy Suttie is an actor and comedian best known for her role in Peepshow and her one woman show Love Letters on Radio 4 as well as many other shows and podcasts. Here she talks to Michael Rosen about writing her comedy and what informs it. She grew up in Matlock in Derbyshire and a deep love as well of knowledge of the place and its people find their way into her humour. Words ending in consonants too are much funnier than those ending in a vowel she says. And as for learning Welsh to impress her partner her song written to show off her language skills to him is a linguistic masterpiece!Producer: Maggie Ayre
1/9/202427 minutes, 50 seconds
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Everyday Shakespeare

Michael Rosen talks to Ben and David Crystal about the Shakespeare quotes we use every day, without even realising. We’ve all heard someone roll their eyes and say “the lady doth protest too much, me thinks” - or head back to their desk muttering “once more unto the breach!” Shakespeare had a way with words that makes his writing extremely relatable, even today. Ben and David Crystal tell Michael why so many of the bard’s sayings have slipped into our everyday chat. Producer: Alice McKee, BBC Audio Bristol
8/22/202327 minutes, 25 seconds
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Therapy Speak

Susie Orbach talks to Michael Rosen about the use and misuse of “therapy speak”. With the rise of mental health awareness, it seems to have leaked out of the therapist’s office and into our homes. Instead of saying someone’s getting on our nerves, we talk about “boundaries”; instead of accusing someone of lying, we call them a “gaslighter”; instead of telling someone we’re listening, we say we’re “holding space”. But do these words mean what we think they do? And do they help or heighten the issues we are trying to discuss? Producer: Alice McKee, BBC Audio Bristol
8/15/202327 minutes, 35 seconds
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Fandom

There's lots of 'birging' in this week's programme. For those not in the know - that's short for Basking In Reflected Glory and it's something football fans in particular do when they talk about their team's triumphs using the 'extended we'. Michael Bond author of 'Fans' talks to Michael about the words and language different fan groups have as a shared means of communication. Whether it's being a superfan of sport, film or music there are words and phrases that show you belong to a particular fandom. Producer: Maggie Ayre
8/8/202327 minutes, 48 seconds
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The stories behind our names

Michael Rosen talks to journalist Sheela Banerjee about the family and cultural histories revealed by our names. In her book What’s in a Name? Friendship, Identity and History in Modern Multicultural Britain, she takes a deep dive into her own personal and family names and those of her friends. Names turn out to be excellent prisms through which to view history and the stories she uncovers are surprising and poignant. Producer Beth O'Dea, BBC Audio Bristol
8/1/202328 minutes, 2 seconds
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Audio description: putting art into words

Lonny Evans audio describes in theatres and museums, and Terry James, who is vision impaired, trains audio describers. They talk to Michael about their work. Producer Sally Heaven
7/25/202327 minutes, 41 seconds
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Interpreting Presidents Putin and Zelensky

Irina Morgan is a high level interpreter. Being bi-lingual in Russian and Ukrainian means she's in demand whenever Vladimir Putin or President Zelensky give a press conference requiring simultaneous interpretation. Irina talks to Michael about the language do's and don'ts of live translation, and about how she puts herself into the mindset of someone like President Putin in order to give an accurate representation of his distinct man-of-the-people hard man linguistic style. By contrast Volodymyr Zelensky is a linguistic free-styler - like following jazz, Irina says. A fascinating look at the life of a language specialist. Producer: Maggie Ayre
7/18/202327 minutes, 39 seconds
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Learning Yiddish

Michael Rosen is learning Yiddish. Every Sunday, he joins other adults in an evening class, conjugating verbs and practising rhymes. For this episode of Word of Mouth, he invites his teacher, Tamara Micner, to join him in the studio. The pair have fun swapping family stories and sharing how they were first exposed to Yiddish. Tamara explains where the language came from and how it's evolved, and they discuss its connections to English. We also hear what Michael is like in class as a new learner, as he wraps his head around the pronunciation and patterns of this language which links him to his family history. Producer: Eliza Lomas, BBC Audio in Bristol.
7/11/202327 minutes, 38 seconds
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Chatbots

Michael is joined by Emily M Bender, Professor of computational linguistics at the University of Washington and co-author of the infamous paper ‘On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots’. Cutting through the recent hype, she explains how chatbots do what they do, how they have become so fluent and why she thinks we should be careful with the terminology we employ when talking about them. Presented by Michael Rosen and produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Ellie Richold.
5/12/202337 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Language of Fascism

Michael Rosen speaks with Jason Stanley, the Jacob Urowsky Professor at Yale University to discuss the language of fascism. They discuss propaganda, slogans and ‘vermin terminology’ as well as how fascist language changes according to culture, geography and time. Presented by Michael Rosen and produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Ellie Richold.
5/9/202327 minutes, 33 seconds
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Women's Words

Dr Jenni Nuttall talks to Michael about the words used by and about women since the beginnings of language. Including some words we should never have lost.
5/2/202327 minutes, 55 seconds
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A Load of Nonsense

Michael Rosen talks nonsense with literary scholar Noreen Masud. From the nonsense language of Shakespeare's fools, to the nonsense lyrics of The Beatles, via the limericks of Edward Lear, the portmanteaus of Lewis Carroll, and the made-up words of three year olds. A BBC Audio Bristol production. Produced by Becky Ripley.
4/18/202327 minutes, 23 seconds
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Psychiatrist and Patient

Neuropsychiatrist Anthony David talks to Michael about the dialogue that takes place between him and his patients. Producer Sally Heaven
4/11/202327 minutes, 41 seconds
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The Life Inside: Philosophy in Prison

Andy West talks to Michael Rosen about his work discussing philosophy in prisons around England. His book The Life Inside is a memoir of his own experience of the justice system through his family. His father, brother and uncle all spent long stretches in jail. Andy talks about the various meanings words such as 'freedom' 'hope' and 'time' have to prisoners. The conversations he has with them as part of the philosophy course are revealing as well as often poignant and humorous. Producer: Maggie Ayre for BBC Audio Bristol
4/4/202327 minutes, 40 seconds
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Richard Osman's love of language

Richard Osman talks in depth to Michael Rosen about his life in language: from growing up loving TV and sports, to working on Pointless and then writing The Thursday Murder Club. And you can download the longer Word of Mouth podcast version to hear their conversation in full. Download button on the BBC programme page. Link to all the Word of Mouth podcasts: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qtnz/episodes/downloads Producer Beth O'Dea
2/21/202347 minutes, 22 seconds
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Interpreting for Mum and Dad

Sanmeet Kaur has been interpreting for her parents since the age of five, when her family arrived in the UK from Afghanistan. Producer Sally Heaven
2/14/202327 minutes, 47 seconds
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Subtitles

Karli Witkowska is the subtitler behind films and TV shows including Stranger Things. She explains to Michael how descriptions such as 'tentacles wetly squelching' enhance the experience of Deaf and hard of hearing viewers as well as being entertaining in themselves. Producer Sally Heaven
2/7/202327 minutes, 27 seconds
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Snap Crackle and Every Little Helps - the language of food advertising

Giles Poyner has worked in marketing and advertising for over twenty years and has worked on some of the biggest global brands. He explains how when it comes to marketing food and drink words really do matter. From taking every day slogans that we then associate with a brand to employing iambic pentameter to create taglines that stick in the customer's head. Although companies are using ever more sophisticated means to sell their products, clever slogans have been around for longer than we think. Almost 100 years in fact. Producer: Maggie Ayre
1/31/202327 minutes, 42 seconds
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Grammar Table

Ellen Jovin is a grammar and language fan. Her book Rebel With A Clause: Tales and Tips From A Roving Grammarian details her travels with her Grammar Table. Keen to engage with people face to face rather than online Ellen purchased a fold up table and set off on a road trip around the United States setting up on street corners and waiting for people to talk to her. The idea was that people could come and ask her about language and grammar without being made to feel stupid. Common questions included when to use commas and semi-colons and the right way to say 'nuclear' (think George Bush). Although she had lots of fun on her trip and met many interesting people along the way, Ellen's main intention is to help people with written and spoken English presentation in their public and working lives without the need for grammar books. Producer: Maggie Ayre
1/24/202327 minutes, 31 seconds
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Band names

Bob Stanley from Saint Etienne talks band names, from the (subjectively) rubbish to the brilliant, along with some of the best origin stories. Producer Sally Heaven
1/17/202327 minutes, 43 seconds
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Exclamation Marks!!

In the first of a new series, Michael Rosen exclaims excitedly over exclamation marks with Dr Florence Hazrat, who has a passion for them. They explore the history behind the first punctuation symbol to indicate emotion and ask why some people do not like using them at all. Florence is the author of An Admirable Point: A Brief History of the Exclamation Mark! Producer Beth O'Dea
1/10/202327 minutes, 30 seconds
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Nihal Arthanayake on conversation

Nihal Arthanayake has written a book based on his decades long experience of talking to people. Now he talks to Michael about what makes a good conversation. Producer Sally Heaven
8/23/202227 minutes, 33 seconds
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Like

Carmen Fought is a Californian Valley Girl, born and bred and she's, like, there's nothing wrong with using 'like.' And Michael's, like, come on Word of Mouth and tell us why. Producer Sally Heaven
8/16/202227 minutes, 42 seconds
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A Murmuration of Starlings

Most groups of wildlife can be described as a flock or a herd, a swarm or a shoal – but where is the fun in stopping there? From an army of ants to a dazzle of zebras, an exultation of larks to a murder of crows, the English language is brimming with weird and wonderful collective nouns to describe groups of animals and birds. Michael Rosen talks to Matt Sewell, author of 'A Charm of Goldfinches', about some of the more obscure examples that have made their way into common usage as collective nouns for creatures of the land, the sea and the air... Produced for BBC Audio Bristol by Becky Ripley
8/9/202227 minutes, 52 seconds
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The Art of Apologies

Michael Rosen talks to sociolinguist Louise Mullany about all the ways in which we say sorry. From the sympathetic sorry in the face of bad news, to the polite sorry we say to strangers in the street. Via workplace hierarchies, gender differences, and the nitty-gritty of political apologies. Louise is a Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of Nottingham and author of 'The Science of Politeness', due out next year. Produced for BBC Audio Bristol by Becky Ripley
8/2/202227 minutes, 43 seconds
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Ghosting Caking and Breadcrumbing

Michael Rosen talks to cyber-pyschologist Dr Nicola Fox Hamilton about the new language that has emerged now that so many relationships begin online. She has studied the way people use words and expressions to describe themselves in their dating profiles as well as their experiences of internet romance. She reveals how many of the creative new terms to describe relationships forged this way spring from African American speech and language. If you want to avoid being ghosted, catfished or bread-crumbed then this is for you. Producer for BBC Audio Wales and West of England: Maggie Ayre
7/26/202227 minutes, 48 seconds
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Lords and Ladies: Folk Names for Plants and Flowers

Snotty Gogs and Moggie Nightgown may not immediately mean a lot to you but as common or folk names for the Yew berry and Wood anemone they reveal a fascinating social and cultural history of the countryside. Michael Rosen talks to the natural history broadcaster Brett Westwood about the informative, often funny sometimes bawdy names given to British plants and flowers. Producer: Maggie Ayre
7/19/202227 minutes, 46 seconds
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My Stammer Story

Michael Rosen asks William Laven about how he has learnt to embrace language and life with a stammer. For the first 10 years of his life, William Laven went to speech therapy with a stammer that was so severe he could not form a full sentence. Fast forward to today, William is now a 23-year-old podcast founder, Tedx speaker, stammer advocate, awareness raiser and campaigner. He is devoted to improving expectations for those with speech impediments, to challenge the stigma surrounding stammers, and to encourage children with stammers to believe in themselves. When it comes to his own stammer, he now believes it’s his superpower! Produced for BBC Audio Bristol by Becky Ripley
7/12/202227 minutes, 46 seconds
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What is language actually good for?

Acclaimed Australian linguist Professor Nick Enfield has come to the conclusion that language is good for lawyers, for the purposes of persuasion, but bad for scientists who seek to accurately represent reality. It's a fascinating idea he explores in his new book Language vs Reality. What can language describe and where does it fail? Presenter Michael Rosen explores this with him in an in-depth conversation. Producer Beth O'Dea
5/10/202227 minutes, 39 seconds
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Nathan Filer on the ways we talk about mental health

Nathan talks with Michael about words we use when talking about mental health. Producer Sally Heaven
5/3/202227 minutes, 44 seconds
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Weather Words

It's Gone Dark Over Bill's Mother's In Britain talking about the weather is a good neutral way to start conversation. Because we have such varying weather conditions (three seasons in one day) there is always something to marvel at or grumble about. But around the world sayings and descriptive words for clouds, winds, rainfall and dry spells are also popular. Michael Rosen is joined by lexicographer, Harry Campbell, who compiled a Compendium of Weather to discuss the various ways we like to talk about it from the North East of Scotland to the South West of England via Wales and Northern Ireland. Snel winds, dreich days and nesh climates all feature along with some of the hundreds of contributions sent in by listeners from around Britain. Producer for BBC audio in Bristol, Maggie Ayre
4/26/202227 minutes, 52 seconds
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The language we use about children in care

Adoptive parent Margaret Reynolds talks about the language used around children in care. From the unthinking people asking about 'real parents' to the clinical language used to describe children's lives. Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol, Sally Heaven
4/20/202227 minutes, 35 seconds
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3 Ways to Speak English

Dr Jamila Lyiscott describes to Michael Rosen the 3 ways in which she speaks English according to whether she's at home, at school or with friends. Her TED talk on the subject is one of the most-viewed language performances on the internet and is used in education. She self-describes as a trilingual orator and asks: who decides who is articulate? https://www.ted.com/talks/jamila_lyiscott_3_ways_to_speak_english?language=en Produced by Beth O'Dea for BBC Audio Bristol
4/12/202227 minutes, 48 seconds
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The Language of Sci-Fi

Are you a lover of SF and all things fantasy, or merely a fan? Jesse Sheidlower formerly of the Oxford English Dictionary began compiling a dictionary of sci-fi 20 years ago and has been updating it ever since. He brings Michael Rosen up to speed with current parlance in the SF world (true fans prefer this term rather than sci-fi) and explores the origins of words and sayings to do with robotics, extraterrestrial life and space exploration. It's surprising how many examples of what was once the language of fiction have become our everyday reality. Robots of course are the obvious example but a few decades ago Space Station would have sounded like the stuff of fantasy. Producer: Maggie Ayre
4/5/202227 minutes, 45 seconds
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Talking to Computers

Will machine translation ever be as good as human translation? How do services like Google Translate actually work? How does Alexa or Siri know what I'm saying? And will I ever be able to have a true conversation with my virtual assistant? Michael Rosen explores new developments in speech recognition, machine translation and speech synthesis with journalist and author Lane Greene. Lane Greene is the language columnist and Spain correspondent at The Economist. He’s the author of two books about language: 'Talk on the Wild Side' and 'You Are What you Speak'. Produced by Mair Bosworth for BBC Audio in Bristol
2/22/202227 minutes, 48 seconds
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John McWhorter on Language

Michael Rosen is joined by John McWhorter, author and linguist at Columbia University, to talk about his life in language. John H. McWhorter teaches linguistics, American Studies, and music history at Columbia University. He is a contributing editor at the Atlantic, columnist at the New York Times and host of Slate’s Lexicon Valley podcast. McWhorter is the author of twenty books often on the subject of language, including The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Talking Back Talking Black, Words On The Move and Woke Racism. Producer: Eliza Lomas
2/15/202229 minutes, 15 seconds
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Dropping the Mic and Jumping the Shark: Where Do Modern Idioms Come From?

Some idioms feel like they've been with us forever. We're used to saying it's 'raining cats and dogs', that we feel like 'a fish out of water' or that someone has been 'pulling our leg'. But other idioms have emerged relatively recently, such as 'Groundhog Day', 'first world problems' or 'computer says no'; we might hear people say that a long-running TV show has finally 'jumped the shark' or that a politician has deployed the 'dead cat strategy'. Just like new words, new idioms emerge in language all the time, and enter our vocabulary from TV, movies, sport, politics and the Internet. Michael Rosen talks to Gareth Carrol about the surprising origins of some of these modern idioms and why we pepper our speech with so much formulaic language. Dr Gareth Carrol is Senior Lecturer in Psycholinguistics at the University of Birmingham and is the author of 'Jumping Sharks and Dropping Mics: Modern Idioms and Where They Come From'. Produced by Mair Bosworth for BBC Audio
2/8/202227 minutes, 32 seconds
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Remembering Mother Tongues

Michael Rosen asks Julie Sedivy about what happens when we lose our first language. Julie Sedivy's family left their home country, the former Czechoslovakia, when Julie was a small child. They arrived in Canada as refugees with no English. Michael and Julie discuss the role of language within Julie's family story: how young children assimilate, how parents adapt and what can learned from these family experiences for the whole of society. Julie Sedivy is a Canadian writer and language scientist, whose book on losing and reclaiming her first language is called Memory Speaks. Producer: Eliza Lomas for BBC Audio, Bristol.
2/2/202227 minutes, 26 seconds
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It's language, Jim, but not as we know it

Could aliens 'speak' in chemicals? Could they converse in electricity? Would they be able to hear us? In the absence of a Star Trek-style universal translator, how would you talk to an alien newly arrived on Planet Earth? Dr Hannah Little is a science communicator, linguist and comedian. She joins Michael Rosen for some fascinating thought experiments on extraterrestrial communication and animal interactions closer to home. What might all this tell us about how human language first appeared, and why does it matter? Produced by Sarah Goodman for BBC Audio in Bristol.
1/25/202227 minutes, 28 seconds
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When Words Fail Us

Kathryn Mannix, author and palliative care specialist, joins Michael Rosen to think about those discussions we would rather avoid. She calls them "tender" conversations. In the moments that really count, how do we respond to someone sharing bad news or raw emotion? How do we listen well? What do we say – and what should we not say? Kathryn and Michael talk about why we tell stories to help us process important moments and how silence is often the most caring response to someone in distress. They also talk about having conversations aloud or in our heads with loved ones who have died and how this can help us work through loss. Kathryn Mannix is the author of Listen: How to Find the Words for Tender Conversations and With the End in Mind: How to Live and Die Well. Produced by Sarah Goodman for BBC Audio in Bristol.
1/18/202227 minutes, 36 seconds
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Words from World War I

Doing your bit or shirking? Afflicted with ‘Belgian flush’? Don’t forget to BYOB. Lynda Mugglestone, Professor of the History of English at the University of Oxford, joins Michael Rosen to talk about the new language that emerged from British experience in the First World War – from Zeppelinophobia on the Home Front to ‘watching the pyrotechnics’ in the trenches. Jumping into an extraordinary archive put together by clergyman Andrew Clark at the time, they discover just how many words and phrases were coined to describe this brand new kind of warfare, and what they mean to us today. Professor Lynda Mugglestone is the author of Writing a War of Words: Andrew Clark and the Search for Meaning in World War One. Produced by Sarah Goodman for BBC Audio in Bristol.
1/11/202228 minutes, 1 second
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Digital body language: how to work online

Michael Rosen gets advice from Erica Dhawan on the best ways to communicate on-screen, as people work and live more in zoom, text, social media and email rather than meeting up. We need to find new ways of talking to each other 'virtually'. Erica Dhawan is the author of Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance. Produced by Beth O'Dea for BBC Audio in Bristol.
8/24/202127 minutes, 54 seconds
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When people get your name wrong

Michael Rosen on why personal names are so often mispronounced or misspelled, in conversation and online. With guest Dhruti Shah, linguist Dr Laurel MacKenzie, and lots of stories from the Word of Mouth audience. Produced by Beth O'Dea for BBC Audio in Bristol
8/17/202128 minutes, 6 seconds
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Accent Bias

Michael Rosen asks Professor Devyani Sharma about the latest research into accent bias in the UK. Which are the highest and lowest rated accents, and why does it matter so much? Produced by Beth O'Dea for BBC Audio in Bristol More information on the work of the Accent Bias Britain project: https://accentbiasbritain.org/
8/10/202127 minutes, 26 seconds
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Cultish Language

Michael Rosen and Amanda Montell talk about the language used by cults that has permeated other, and more unexpected, areas of life. Produced by Beth O'Dea for BBC Audio in Bristol.
8/3/202127 minutes, 21 seconds
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Medical English

Michael Rosen asks Dr Sophie Harrison about the strange and special new language she had to learn to become a doctor, having been an editor at Granta Magazine. She's written a book about her language journey: The Cure For Good Intentions: A Doctor's Story. Produced by Beth O'Dea for BBC Audio in Bristol
7/27/202127 minutes, 46 seconds
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The Art of Inventing Languages

How does one go about inventing a language? David J. Peterson is the creator of the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for fantasy series Game of Thrones, as well as many others. He joins Michael Rosen for a playful discussion about all things conlang, and Michael tries his luck at inventing a new language for bacteria. Produced by Eliza Lomas for BBC Audio in Bristol.
7/20/202127 minutes, 52 seconds
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Why is English so weird?

Why do we say 'I climbed' not 'I clomb'? Why is there a 'p' in 'receipt' and not in 'deceit'? Why is 'of' spelled with a 'f' when it sounds like a 'v'? Michael Rosen hears why from American linguist Arika Okrent. Together they talk about the strangeness of English and who is to blame for the mess. Produced by Eliza Lomas for BBC Audio in Bristol.
7/15/202127 minutes, 57 seconds
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The Shipping Forecast: Internet Fandom

Gretchen McCulloch, Internet Linguist, author of Because Internet and the host of the Lingthusiasm podcast, talks to Michael Rosen about what it is to "ship" and how fandoms and other subcommunities online are changing the English language. Clip from 'Mans Not Nice' Michael Rosen remix credited to MisterLucca Produced by Ellie Richold for BBC Audio in Bristol
5/11/202127 minutes, 36 seconds
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Speech and Language Therapy

Michael talks to speech and language therapists Fiona Gillies and Tara Millan-Brophy. Fiona has been helping Michael with his rehabilitation post Covid-19 and takes him through his exercises. Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol: Sally Heaven
5/4/202127 minutes, 25 seconds
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Coinages

Michael talks to Ralph Keyes about some of the unusual circumstances in which words and phrases are coined Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol : Sally Heaven
4/27/202127 minutes, 40 seconds
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Romance Fraud

Dr Elisabeth Carter talks to Michael about the language used by fraudsters who fake romantic relationships online for monetary gain Producer Sally Heaven Further information and help. Action Fraud provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime. Phone: 0300 123 2040 www.actionfraud.police.uk Victim Support provides emotional and practical help to victims or witnesses of any crime, whether or not it has been reported to the police. Phone: 0808 16 89 111 (24/7) www.victimsupport.org.uk Victim Support NI offers emotional and practical support to all victims and witnesses of crime across Northern Ireland. Phone: 028 9024 3133 www.victimsupportni.com Victim Support Scotland offers emotional and practical support to all victims and witnesses of crime across Scotland. Phone: 0800 160 1985 (Mon-Fri 8am-8pm). www.victimsupportsco.org.uk
4/20/202127 minutes, 57 seconds
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Changing Names

Michael Rosen and BBC presenter Ben Boulos talk about how we change names Produced by Sally Heaven for BBC Audio in Bristol
4/13/202127 minutes, 47 seconds
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Alphabetical Order

Michael Rosen and historian Judith Flanders talk about how we categorise things, using alphabetical order and more. Produced by Sally Heaven for BBC Audio in Bristol
4/6/202127 minutes, 44 seconds
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LGBTQIA+ slang

Chloe Davis, creator of The Queen's English dictionary of LGBTQIA+ slang, talks to Michael about shade, fierce, and the importance of etymology. Producer Sally Heaven
2/16/202127 minutes, 36 seconds
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Hilary Mantel in conversation with Michael Rosen

Hilary Mantel, author of the Wolf Hall Trilogy, talks in depth to Michael Rosen about her life in writing and language. Producer Beth O'Dea Also available to download as part of the Word of Mouth podcast.
2/9/202127 minutes, 44 seconds
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Bulls and Bears: animal metaphors in business language

Michael Rosen finds out from journalist Dhruti Shah why there are so many terms relating to animals in the business world. From dragon kings to yak shaving, her aim is to open up these mysterious and sometimes excluding ways of using language to make finance easier for everyone to understand. Producer Beth O'Dea Bear Markets and Beyond: A Bestiary of Business Terms is by Dhruti Shah and Dominic Bailey.
2/2/202128 minutes, 5 seconds
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Being a Polyglot

Alex speaks 15 languages fluently. Does he have a special gift or could we all do this? Plus, what does 'to Donald Duck' mean in Hungarian? Producer Sally Heaven
2/1/202127 minutes, 55 seconds
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Adam Bradley: The Poetry of Pop

Literary critic Adam Bradley talks to Michael about pop lyrics, melody and performance, and how they all work together. Producer Sally Heaven.
1/26/202128 minutes, 1 second
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How to Disagree

Michael Rosen and philosopher Darren Chetty explore ways of disagreeing that could help to unite us, and provide a more productive way of communicating in an increasingly divided society. Producer Beth O'Dea
1/12/202127 minutes, 20 seconds
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Talking Disability

Michael Rosen is back. In the first in a new series, he meets actress and campaigner Samantha Renke and asks her how we talk about disability. Producer Sally Heaven.
1/5/202127 minutes, 24 seconds
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Protest Slogans

Playwright Sabrina Mahfouz, sitting in for Michael Rosen, talks about the provocative language of protest slogans with artist Zoe Buckman and writer Siana Bangura. Image copyright : Greg Morrison Sabrina Mahfouz is a writer and performer, raised in London and Cairo. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) and resident writer at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Her most recent theatre show was A History of Water in the Middle East (Royal Court) and her most recent publications as editor include Smashing It: Working Class Artists on Life, Art and Making it Happen (Saqi) and Poems From a Green and Blue Planet (Hachette Children's). Siana Bangura: sianabangura.com @Sianaarrgh Siana Bangura is a writer, producer, performer and community organiser hailing from South East London, now living, working, and creating between London and the West Midlands. Siana is the founder and former editor of Black British Feminist platform, No Fly on the WALL; she is the author of poetry collection, ‘Elephant’; and the producer of ‘1500 & Counting’, a documentary film investigating deaths in custody and police brutality in the UK. Siana works and campaigns on issues of race, class, and gender and their intersections and is currently working on projects focusing on climate change, the arms trade, and state violence. Her recent works include the short film 'Denim' and the play, 'Layila!'. Across her vast portfolio of work, Siana’s mission is to help move marginalised voices from the margins, to the centre. Zoe Buckman: zoebuckman.com Zoë Buckman (b. 1985 Hackney, East London) is a multi-disciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, and photography, exploring themes of Feminism, mortality, and equality. Notable solo shows have included No Bleach Thick Enough, at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, Heavy Rag at Fort Gansevoort Gallery New York, Let Her Rave at Gavlak Gallery Los Angeles, Imprison Her Soft Hand at Project for Empty Space, Newark; Every Curve at PAPILLION ART, Los Angeles; and Present Life at Garis & Hahn Gallery, New York. Group shows include those at The Museum of Art and Design NYC, MOCA Virginia, The Camden Arts Centre, London, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Children’s Museum of the Arts, Paul Kasmin Gallery NY, Goodman Gallery South Africa, Jack Shainman Gallery NY, Monique Meloche Chicago, NYU Florence Italy, Grunwald Art Gallery, Indiana University, and the Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, GA and The National Museum of African-American History & Culture, Washington, DC Buckman studied at the International Center of Photography (ICP), was awarded an Art Matters Grant in 2017, The Art Change Maker Award 2019 at The New Jersey Visual Arts Center, and The Art and Social Impact Award 2020 at Baxter St NYC, and completed a residency at Mana Contemporary in 2017. Public works include a mural, We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident, in collaboration with Natalie Frank at the Ford Foundation Live Gallery of New York Live Arts in NYC. In February 2018 Buckman unveiled her first Public Sculpture presented by Art Production Fund on Sunset Blv, Los Angeles, a large scale outdoor version of her neon sculpture Champ, which has been up for three years. Buckman lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
8/25/202027 minutes, 35 seconds
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Black masculinity and language

Teacher and writer Jeffrey Boakye, sitting in for Michael Rosen, and poet and writer JJ Bola, look at the construction of black masculinity in contemporary society and the impact of colonialism. They explore how language is used to define or constrain male identity and ask how modern society might transcend these inherited ideas. If you're not a roadman or a baller, who are you? Producer Beth O'Dea. Photo copyright: Antonio Olmos More about Jeffrey Boakye and JJ Bola: Jeffrey Boakye is an author, commentator, writer and English teacher. He has a particular interest in issues surrounding education, race and popular culture. Jeffrey, originally from Brixton in London, has taught English to 11- to 18-year-olds since 2007.  He began teaching in West London, moved to East London where he was Head of English, and then moved on to Yorkshire where he now lives with his wife and two sons. Jeffrey started writing his first book, Hold Tight, in 2015 when cradling his first born son in the early hours. Hold Tight was published in 2017 and is recognised as one of the first seminal books on grime music. He started writing his second book, Black, Listed, when cradling his second born son in the early hours. Published in 2019, Black, Listed was praised by David Lammy MP as ‘a book that gives a voice to those whose experience is persistently defined, refined and denied by others’. Jeffrey’s third book, What is Masculinity?, a book for children on masculinity, broke with tradition and was not written when cradling a newborn son. JJ Bola's website is jjbola.com, twitter: https://twitter.com/JJ_Bola, instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jj_bola and facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jjbola You can listen to Jeffrey Boakye's conversation with Michael Rosen on Word of Mouth here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004l93
8/18/202027 minutes, 37 seconds
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Talking to Strangers

Do you enjoy having a random chat to a stranger? Professor Tanya Byron sitting in for Michael Rosen explores the benefits and barriers to talking to strangers. The "liking gap" the "parasite threat" and "lesser minds": some of the terms used to describe the obstacles some of us face when it comes to talking to people we don't know. Fear of being rejected and straight up fear of other people can prevent us from engaging a complete stranger in conversation. But it's something psychologist Gillian Sandstrom and author Joe Keohane argue is vital for our wellbeing and on a wider scale reduces conflict and misunderstanding in increasingly fractious times. Joe and Gillian join Tanya Byron to talk about how to talk to strangers and how to overcome some of the fears and prejudices we may have about people we don't know. As for 'stranger danger' - is it time to kick that term to the kerb? Produced by Maggie Ayre Gillian Sandstrom is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pyschology at the University of Essex Joe Keohane is a New York based journalist and author of the forthcoming book The Power of Strangers
8/11/202027 minutes, 42 seconds
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Othering through the centuries: Translation to acronyms

Playwright Sabrina Mahfouz, sitting in for Michael Rosen, talks to producer Tobi Kyeremateng and classicist Professor Katherine Harloe about othering in language: describing people in ways that exclude them and make them seem lesser. Translations of the classics have been politicised in identity terms, for example adding in 'white skin' in where it didn't exist. The current language around 'BAME' and "BIPOC" is contentious, even if people think they are being helpful. The opposite of this is the power of language to include. What are the ways forward from here? Image copyright : Greg Morrison Suggestions for further reading from Professor Harloe: There is much current debate within Classics over the racialised hierarchies based on skin colour and other physical features that existed in the ancient world, about how ideas about Greek and Roman culture have functioned to bolster and uphold White supremacist ideas, past and present. Much, though not all, of this scholarship is being done by woman classicists of colour. Aimee Hinds, a classicist and art historian, has written essays on “Hercules in White: Classical Reception, Art and Myth” and “Pygmalion, Polychromy and Inclusiveness in Classics’ about the pernicious effects of the Whitewashing of the ancient world in modern artistic traditions, scholarship and educational contexts. Dr Sarah Derbew’s research concerns the ways in which race and skin colour are represented and theorised in ancient Greek literature and art. Dr Mai Musié is an expert on the representation of Persians and Ethiopians in ancient Greek novels. Shelley P. Haley, Edward North Chair of Classics and Professor of Africana Studies at Hamilton College, New York, has been applying Black feminist approaches and critical race theory to study of Classics. Key essays of hers that discuss anti-blackness in classical translations include “Be Not Afraid of the Dark: Critical Race Theory and Classical Studies,” in Prejudice and Christian Beginnings: Investigating Race, Gender and Ethnicity in Early Christian Studies and "Black Feminist Thought and Classics: Re-membering, Re-claiming, Re-empowering" in Feminist Theory and the Classics. Sabrina Mahfouz is a writer and performer, raised in London and Cairo. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) and resident writer at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Her most recent theatre show was A History of Water in the Middle East (Royal Court) and her most recent publications as editor include Smashing It: Working Class Artists on Life, Art and Making it Happen (Saqi) and Poems From a Green and Blue Planet (Hachette Children's).
8/4/202027 minutes, 59 seconds
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Words Used About Women

Spinster, slut, bird, cat lady, ladette, hussy, bossy, goddess, wife. Guest presenter Nikki Bedi (sitting in for Michael Rosen) talks to Professor Deborah Cameron about the words used to talk about women. Deborah Cameron is Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Oxford. In 2007 she published The Myth of Mars and Venus, a general-interest book about language and gender differences. She writes a regular blog - 'Language: a feminist guide' - and occasionally performs as a linguistic stand up comedian. Produced by Mair Bosworth
7/28/202027 minutes, 44 seconds
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The language of power and inequality in education and leadership

Teacher and writer Jeffrey Boakye, sitting in for Michael Rosen, talks with charity strategist, writer and educator Iesha Small. They explore the language of power and inequality in modern education and leadership, and whether they've both learned to speak 'straight white male'. They also look at the ways in which words that are seemingly innocuous and commonly used in schools conceal deep social inequities, such as the word 'disadvantaged'. Producer Beth O'Dea. Photo copyright: Antonio Olmos More about Jeffrey Boakye: Jeffrey Boakye is an author, commentator, writer and English teacher. He has a particular interest in issues surrounding education, race and popular culture. Jeffrey, originally from Brixton in London, has taught English to 11- to 18-year-olds since 2007.  He began teaching in West London, moved to East London where he was Head of English, and then moved on to Yorkshire where he now lives with his wife and two sons. Jeffrey started writing his first book, Hold Tight, in 2015 when cradling his first born son in the early hours. Hold Tight was published in 2017 and is recognised as one of the first seminal books on grime music. He started writing his second book, Black, Listed, when cradling his second born son in the early hours. Published in 2019, Black, Listed was praised by David Lammy MP as ‘a book that gives a voice to those whose experience is persistently defined, refined and denied by others’. Jeffrey’s third book, What is Masculinity?, a book for children on masculinity, broke with tradition and was not written when cradling a newborn son. You can listen to Jeffrey Boakye's conversation with Michael Rosen on Word of Mouth here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004l93 Iesha Small is a writer, speaker and charity strategist passionate about creating a fairer society. Iesha is Head of Strategy and Policy at the youth charity YHA. She has 15 years’ experience in the education sector as a teacher, governor and Innovation Lead at the Centre for Education and Youth think tank. She is passionate about using storytelling alongside research to create positive change and is the author of The Unexpected Leader. She has written about education and society for The Guardian, been a columnist for Schools Week and contributed to books covering education, mental health, and gender identity. She splits her working week between YHA, leadership development and storytelling. Her clients have included Chartered College of Teaching, The National Theatre, Teach First and BBC Radio 4.
7/21/202027 minutes, 40 seconds
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The Language of the Pandemic

Professor Tanya Byron sitting in for Michael Rosen examines the language of Covid-19 with author Mark Honigsbaum. Since the outbreak of coronavirus we have had to adopt a new way of talking about life during a pandemic. We've been 'shielding' and 'socially distancing'. Some of us have been 'furloughed'. We've been dismayed by the irresponsible behaviour of 'covidiots' and tried to avoid too much 'doom scrolling'. But has communication about the virus been clear and effective enough? Medical historian Mark Honigsbaum in his book The Pandemic Century - 100 years of Panic, Hysteria and Hubris - argues that words matter and that we should learn the lessons of previous pandemics from Spanish Flu to Ebola. Producer: Maggie Ayre
7/14/202027 minutes, 45 seconds
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The power of telling stories

Michael Rosen talks to storyteller Clare Muireann Murphy about how telling and listening to stories can transport both the teller and their audience in wonderfully unexpected ways. Stories change minds, shift perspectives and save lives. Human beings have been telling them to each other for thousands of years, and Clare has experienced the power of stories in transforming trauma into growth. The podcast version of this programme contains the full conversation between Michael and Clare. Producer Beth O'Dea Clare's website: http://claremurphy.org/ https://blesma.org/how-we-help/making-generation-r/
2/18/202043 minutes, 16 seconds
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Sindhu Vee

Michael talks to comedian Sindhu Vee about her life in language. Why hearing Nepalese, a language she no longer speaks, can make her cry, how she uses Hindi idioms in comedy, and how she cured her stutter with a thesaurus. Producer Sally Heaven
2/11/202027 minutes, 51 seconds
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Real Talk

Michael Rosen talks to conversation analyst Elizabeth Stokoe about the science of talk. Why infinitesimal pauses and saying hello matter, and the choice of 'speak' over 'talk' can save lives. Where does comedy get it right, and where does artificial intelligence get it wrong? Producer Sally Heaven.
2/5/202027 minutes, 53 seconds
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Communicating Climate Change

From the greenhouse effect, through global warming to climate chaos, Michael Rosen talks to George Marshall about the best ways to communicate what's happening to the planet. Producer Sally Heaven.
2/5/202027 minutes, 59 seconds
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NHS language use

Michael Rosen talks with Sara Wilcox, NHS content designer, about how they decide which words to use on the NHS website. Consultant Dr Hugh Rayner describes his initiative to encourage consultants to write letters to their outpatient clinic patients directly and in clear language, rather than via their GP. When it comes to the NHS, communication can be a matter of life or death. Subscribe to the Word of Mouth podcast and never miss an episode. Producer Beth O'Dea Related Links: The content style guide in the NHS digital service manual: https://beta.nhs.uk/service-manual/content The A to Z of NHS health writing: https://beta.nhs.uk/service-manual/content/a-to-z-of-NHS-health-writing Writing outpatient letters to patients: http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmj.m24?ijkey=PKDrAMEdQAxS1w5&keytype=ref Please, write to me guidance: http://www.aomrc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Please_write_to_me_Guidance_010918.pdf
1/28/202027 minutes, 46 seconds
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Lying

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright talk to Professor Dawn Archer about her work in evaluating deception: is it possible to tell when someone might be lying and what are the clues? Dawn shares her analysis of the language used in a news interview and a press conference by two men who were trying to deceive the public but were later found guilty of very serious crimes. Producer Beth O'Dea
1/21/202027 minutes, 50 seconds
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Metaphors

Michael Rosen returns to explore how metaphors shape our lives with author James Geary. We live, breathe and think in metaphors and communication would be impossible without them. In a far-reaching conversation, Michael and James tease out what they are, why they exist and why we need them in our language. And how it is that the Greek word from which the English word metaphor is derived is still in everyday use in its country of origin. James Geary is the author of I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World. Producer Beth O'Dea
1/7/202028 minutes, 4 seconds
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Anglo Saxon

Michael Rosen explores the origins of English in the Anglo-Saxon world. Ancient riddles, poems and a multi-cultural Britain, in the company of historical linguist Dr Laura Wright and Professor Andy Orchard. Producer: Melvin Rickarby.
8/27/201927 minutes, 48 seconds
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The Language of Science

Michael Rosen looks at how English is used in Science. From the florid writings of the 17th century to modernist poetry and school experiments. With historian Charlotte Sleigh and historical linguist Laura Wright. Producer: Melvin Rickarby
8/20/201927 minutes, 53 seconds
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Gabriel Gbadamosi

Michael Rosen meets London-born writer Gabriel Gbadamosi, to talk Dickens and dialect. With historical linguist Laura Wright they look at Gabriel's novel Vauxhall, and how the types of English found on the streets of London find their way into his work, and that of Dickens, Chaucer and Henry Green. Producer: Melvin Rickarby
8/13/201927 minutes, 57 seconds
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Philosophy in English

Michael Rosen looks at philosophy in English, from 17th century ideas to modern corporate slogans, via the daffodils of William Wordsworth. With historical linguist Laura Wright and philosopher Jonathan Rée Producer: Melvin Rickarby
8/6/201927 minutes, 47 seconds
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Vikings

Michael Rosen discovers how the Vikings changed English. These invaders brought with them the words knife, gun, slaughter, ransack and anger. But then they settled, using their anger, verbs and great hair to transform our grammar, and our understanding of the landscape. With author Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough and historical linguist Laura Wright. Producer: Melvin Rickarby
7/30/201927 minutes, 52 seconds
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Glyn Maxwell

Michael Rosen explores the sound and rhythm of English with acclaimed poet Glyn Maxwell. From nursery rhymes and nonsense poetry to Shakespeare and Bob Dylan. Producer: Melvin Rickarby
7/23/201927 minutes, 59 seconds
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The most powerful word

Michael Rosen explores the strange history of 'The', the most influential word in English. It's used more than twice as much as any other English word, and has given philosophers centuries of head-scratching. So how did a word which means nothing, and didn't even exist in Old English, come to dominate our language? With linguists Laura Wright and Jonathan Culpeper, and philosopher Barry Smith. Producer: Melvin Rickarby
7/17/201927 minutes, 40 seconds
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The First Language

Michael Rosen asks what the earliest language was and how it evolved. Michael joins linguist Dr Laura Wright on a journey to meet our meat-scavenging, fire-harnessing ancestors to discover the primal sources of language. There are thousands of languages today - is it possible to trace them back to a single ancestor? With anthropologist Robert Foley and linguist Maggie Tallerman. Producer: Melvin Rickarby
7/16/201928 minutes, 11 seconds
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Raymond Antrobus

Michael Rosen meets acclaimed poet Raymond Antrobus. Winner of the 2018 Ted Hughes award for new work in poetry, his collection The Perserverence brings together autobiographical poems on race, deafness and family. He joins Michael Rosen to discuss language, sign language and deafness. Producers: Melvin Rickarby and James Cook
7/16/201927 minutes, 43 seconds
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Romani

Damian Le Bas talks to Michael Rosen about the Romani language and his experience with using it. Damian is the author of The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain. Producer Beth O'Dea
5/14/201927 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Language of Comics

Can a series of images be 'read' like a series of words? What makes something a language? We have written, spoken and signed languages, but could the sequences of images we see in comics also qualify? Michael Rosen explores the visual language of comics and graphic novels, with comics theorist and cognitive researcher Neil Cohn, author of The Visual Language of Comics. Producer: Mair Bosworth
5/7/201927 minutes, 41 seconds
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Jeffrey Boakye on black-related words

Jeffrey Boakye talks to Michael Rosen about exploring black British identity, including his own, through the words used by and about black men and women. Jeffrey's the author of Black, Listed and of Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials & the Meaning of Grime. Producer Beth O'Dea
4/30/201928 minutes
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Biscuit Names

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright look into the weird and wonderful world of biscuit names while munching some in the studio with Anastasia Edwards, author of Biscuits and Cookies, A Global History. Why is it a Garibaldi and how about a Jammie Dodger? Producer Beth O'Dea
4/23/201927 minutes, 34 seconds
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Listen and learn: how to make better conversation

Michael Rosen talks to Eddy Canfor-Dumas and Peter Osborn about how improving our dialogue is good for everything, from helping excluded children to resolving conflict. Producer Sally Heaven.
2/19/201927 minutes, 57 seconds
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Dyslexia

Michael Rosen talks in depth about dyslexia: what it is, how to understand it and useful advice for parents and teachers, with expert Professor Maggie Snowling CBE, President of St John's College, Oxford. Producer Beth O’Dea.
2/12/201927 minutes, 44 seconds
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Talk of the Town: How Places Got Their Names

From Ashby-de-la-Zouch to Zennor, via Great Snoring, Lost and Nempnett Thrubwell, Michael Rosen is joined by linguists Dr Laura Wright and Professor Richard Coates to explore the origins of the UK's place names. What are the meanings of some of the most common village name formations, and how did some of the stranger names come about? Producer: Mair Bosworth
2/5/201927 minutes, 37 seconds
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Solving crime with forensic linguistics

Dr John Olsson talks to Michael Rosen about how he uses forensic linguistics, specifically authorship analysis, to solve crimes including murder, false witness and hate mail. What he does is work out whether a text, email or letter is likely to have come from the person it says it is from - or whether, in some cases, it is in fact being sent by the person who has murdered them.. Producer Beth O'Dea
1/29/201927 minutes, 47 seconds
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Demystifying the language of the courtroom

Family law barrister and chair of The Transparency Project Lucy Reed talks to Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright about the language of the courtroom and how to make family justice clearer. Producer Sally Heaven
1/22/201927 minutes, 46 seconds
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How to talk funny with Elis James

Michael Rosen talks to comedian Elis James about how to make language funny. In Elis' case, this is both the English language and the Welsh language, but which is funnier? Produced by Sally Heaven
1/15/201927 minutes, 28 seconds
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Raymond Williams' Keywords

Michael Rosen talks to academic Colin MacCabe and Dr Laura Wright about Raymond Williams' 1976 book Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, which looks at the changing meanings of words such as 'culture', 'art', 'nature' and 'society'. Often the changes in meaning of these words reflect the changing society in which they are being used. Colin MacCabe has spent the past decade updating Williams' work, and he and his team have added some words of their own. Producer Sally Heaven.
10/23/201827 minutes, 44 seconds
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Communication and Dementia

Michael Rosen finds out how best to communicate with people with dementia. Professor Alison Wray shares her new research about the ways in which language is affected by dementia. She offers practical advice to carers, such as to respond to the feeling behind the words being used by the person with dementia rather than to the words themselves. Producer Beth O'Dea Related films: Dementia - The "Communication Disease" and Understanding the Challenges of Dementia Communication here: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC6kMlO8mkB09GNCLm1zbaHQ
10/16/201848 minutes, 23 seconds
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T-Shirt Slogans

Michael Rosen discusses slogan T-shirts with fashion historian Amber Butchart and fashion identity commentator Caryn Franklin. What do the words we wear say about us? Slogan clothing is having - what fashion insiders might call - ‘a bit of a moment’ right now. From longstanding British fashion house Burberry with its new contemporary text based monogram to US designer Tory Burch’s political ‘Vote’ print, the slogan t-shirt is quite literally making a statement. And it’s not just on the catwalk - we’ve all seen them – and many of us are wearing them – from ‘Nike’s ‘old school ‘Just Do It’ to ‘This is What a Feminist Looks Like’ and these chest worn or cap emblazoned messages can reveal much about the identity of the wearer. They can tell us who they are - or - who they want to be. They can reveal hopes, dreams, political views. They are an intriguing insight into the concerns and obsessions of our twenty-first century society. Or are they just a bit of word play and fashionable fun? Produced by Nicola Humphries
10/9/201828 minutes, 20 seconds
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Multicultural London English

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright talk about the Multicultural London English (MLE) dialect with Somali born journalist Ismail Einashe. Listen to this with your fam and you'll know what Stormzy means when he talks about this wasteman ting, and find out how MLE speakers are using new forms of grammar. This programme draws heavily on research on Multicultural London English published by Paul Kerswill, University of York, UK; Jenny Cheshire, Queen Mary University of London, UK; Susan Fox, University of Bern, Switzerland, and Eivind Torgersen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Sound clips are taken from ‘Spoken London English’, part of the English Language Teaching Resources website. Producer Sally Heaven.
10/2/201828 minutes, 8 seconds
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Lane Greene on Editing

Lane Greene talks to Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright about the joys of editing and how it can improve writing. Lane Greene is The Economist's Johnson language columnist and deputy editor of books & arts. He's also a lover of a literal literally and of a well-placed colon. Producer Beth O'Dea
9/25/201827 minutes, 52 seconds
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Give 'em an inch... imperial and metric

Michael Rosen and Laura Wright talk to maths writer Rob Eastaway about imperial and metric measurements. How and why do they co-exist in the United Kingdom? Why are teenagers still talking in feet and inches when at school they are taught in centimetres? And where do the words 'gallon', 'tonne' 'acre' and "yard" come from? Producer Sally Heaven.
9/18/201828 minutes, 5 seconds
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Stephen Fry and Michael Rosen talk language

Stephen Fry talks to presenter Michael Rosen about their mutual obsession with language: the particular joys they both find in speech and in writing and how language is developing. Starting at the very beginning with Stephen's theory about where a facility with words may come from, then dashing through the joy of finding connections between words in different languages, of listening to the rhythms of music-hall patter, in telephone voicemail messages and in rap, to sketch-writing with Hugh Laurie, presenting QI, the essential seriousness of comedy, the virtues of email and text as opposed to the sheer horror of having to talk on the telephone, and one time when Stephen's famous fluency broke down.. Producer Beth O'Dea
9/11/201827 minutes, 34 seconds
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Shop Names

Michael Rosen and Laura Wright look at the history behind and witty wordplay used in shop names, with guest Greg Rowland of The Semiotic Alliance, which invents names for products, and favourite punning shop names tweeted in by the audience.. a florist called Back to the Fuchsia, anyone? Producer Beth O'Dea.
5/22/201828 minutes, 7 seconds
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How to talk like a Samaritan

Michael Rosen talks to Mark Harris and Darran Latham, who volunteer for the Samaritans, about the ways in which talking and listening can best be used to help people in crisis. You can call Samaritans anytime, free to from any phone, on 116 123. People can also contact us via email: [email protected] or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of their nearest branch for face to face help. Producer Beth O'Dea.
5/15/201827 minutes, 46 seconds
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The Words That Saved Me

Michael Rosen and Laura Wright talk to Sally Bayley, author of Girl With Dove, about how words both mystified and rescued her during a highly unusual childhood. Producer Sally Heaven.
5/8/201828 minutes, 10 seconds
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Me, Myself & AI

Michael Rosen and Dr. Laura Wright are joined in the studio by a virtual assistant and Tom Hewitson - conversation designer for the likes of Siri, Alexa and Cortana. They discuss whether virtual assistants can ever speak like actual humans, and how us humans are developing a new vernacular for machines. Mitsuku is a bot that won an award for most human-like AI and Tay is a now-deceased bot who learnt to speak like a Nazi. Producers Eliza Lomas & Sally Heaven.
5/1/201827 minutes, 53 seconds
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Naming Emotions

Michael Rosen talks to Dr Tiffany Watt Smith about the words we use to try and describe our emotions, and what that can tell us about the way we feel now and have felt at different times in the past. Sadness once occupied the place that happiness now does in terms of life aspirations, and nostalgia was listed as a cause of death on death certificates - in the twentieth century. Producer Beth O'Dea.
4/24/201828 minutes, 4 seconds
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Not My Type

How do fonts change the meaning of a message? What was Comic Sans invented for? Why was Obama's first election campaign so typographically bold? And which font would make you buy one chocolate bar over another? Michael Rosen is joined by graphic designer, author and the font of all knowledge when it comes to fonts, Sarah Hyndman, to discuss the psychology of typefaces. Sarah is the author of 3 books, including 'Why Fonts Matter' and 'How to Draw Type and Influence people'. She is also the founder of the Type Tasting studio, which aims to change the way we think and talk about typography through interactive and sensory experiences. Producer Rebecca Ripley.
4/17/201828 minutes
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Words Apart

Word of Mouth returns with a special programme in which Michael Rosen and guests Marina Warner and Barry Smith discuss the state of language and public debate. With the rise of the internet there is more political discussion than ever. Yet this torrent of words seems to carry less understanding than ever. This has been attributed to many causes. Some say it is the anonymous nature of internet discussions, or the increasing disparity between rich and poor, or even the efficacy with which media (and propaganda) organisations can affect public opinion. But possibly the problem lies in language itself. Traditionally, political language has been a shared endeavour through which we express our differences. Perhaps now even the language itself has become partisan - words carry profoundly different meanings for different people and the shared understand that public debate relies on is much reduced. Two people can share a word - say government or sovereignty - but if the frame of reference for what that word means has become radically different it's hard to find the common ground on which meaningful debate can happen. So Michael Rosen and his guests are looking at the state of current political and public debate, delving into the philosophy of language and seeing how words get their meaning in the minds of their users. Perhaps, on top of all our other attendant crises, we can claim to be living through a crisis of language. Producers James Cook and Beth O'Dea.
4/10/201827 minutes, 49 seconds
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Haggard Hawks

Why do we 'let the cat out of the bag' or 'go the whole nine yards'? What is a hackle and why might it be raised? What does it mean to 'fribble'? Or to have a 'schnapsidee'? And what are 'cupid's kettle drums'? Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright are joined by Paul Anthony Jones, the writer behind the popular etymology blog Haggard Hawks to talk about the origins of common idioms, the stories behind words we use every day, and the forgotten words Paul would like to see brought back into use. Paul is the author of six books of word lore and linguistic trivia, including Haggard Hawks and Paltry Poltroons: The Origins of English in Ten Words, The Accidental Dictionary: The Remarkable Twists and Turns of English Words and - most recently - The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities: A Yearbook of Forgotten Words. Producer: Mair Bosworth.
2/20/201828 minutes, 12 seconds
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Language and Gender Identity

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright are joined by CN Lester, author of 'Trans Like Me: A Journey for All of Us' to talk about language and gender identity. What does it mean to be transgender and how is language being used (by and about) people who identify as transgender, non-binary or genderqueer? Producer: Mair Bosworth.
2/13/201828 minutes, 3 seconds
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Naming Diseases

Michael Rosen and Laura Wright explore how diseases are named and the political, economic and social impact of disease names past and present. Joining them are Laura Spinney, Science journalist and author of Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World and Professor Peter Piot; Ebola co-discoverer and AIDS pioneer, currently Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and professor of global health. Producer: Sarah Addezio.
2/12/201828 minutes, 1 second
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Best wishes, kind regards or none of the above?

We used to sign off letters using "yours faithfully" or "yours sincerely", then email came along and it was all "kind regards" and "best wishes". Now, it seems, we hardly sign off at all. With so many forms of written communication- email, text, Twitter, What's App- what new etiquettes are emerging, and where are 'digital natives' simply getting it wrong? Emma Gannon is author of Ctrl, Alt, Delete: How I Grew Up Online, and hosts the podcast of the same name. Producer Sally Heaven.
1/31/201827 minutes, 34 seconds
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Michael Gets Voice Training

Vocal coaches Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher, authors of This is a Voice, give Michael Rosen a workout. They get him to read against natural pitch and intonation, which proves nearly impossible, and make him match his speaking pace to a walk around the studio. What we do with our consonants and our ability with a tongue twister also turn out to play a part in the ways in which we speak. Producer Beth O'Dea.
1/23/201827 minutes, 53 seconds
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Hello! Is it me you're looking for? - The art of greetings

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright are back with a new series of Word of Mouth, and appropriately enough they're starting with Hellos. And greetings. Former diplomat Andy Scott has greeted people in more than 60 countries, and he's written a book about his experiences called One Kiss or Two? The origins and psychology of greetings provide a rich subject and by the end of the programme they may all even reach an agreement about how many times to kiss.. Producer Beth O'Dea.
1/16/201827 minutes, 59 seconds
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Pub Names

From The Red Lion to the Bucket of Blood, how did your local get its name? Michael Rosen asks Word of Mouth's resident linguist Dr Laura Wright about her research into pub names. And guest Eddie Gershon explains how the JD Wetherspoon pub chain goes about naming new pubs. Produced by Mair Bosworth.
10/24/201727 minutes, 33 seconds
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Language and Our Genes with Dr Steve Jones

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright talk to geneticist Steve Jones about how language is used to talk about genetics, and how genetics influences language. Producer Sally Heaven.
10/18/201727 minutes, 25 seconds
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Autism and Communication

Michael Rosen finds out what the rest of society can learn about communication from people on the autism spectrum, by getting an insight into a different worldview. He meets Alis Rowe and Helen Eaton from the Curly Hair project. Producer Sally Heaven.
10/10/201727 minutes, 37 seconds
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Wild Words

The writer Robert Macfarlane (author of Landmarks, The Old Ways, The Wild Places and Mountains of the Mind) believes that the language we use to talk about nature is itself at risk of becoming an endangered species. A 2016 research paper by Cambridge University conservationists found that eight-to 11-year-old schoolchildren were 'substantially better' at identifying common Pokemon characters than common species of British wildlife. Over the past 10 years, Macfarlane has been gathering a 'word-hoard' of thousands of terms for nature, landscape and weather, in the hope of preserving, enriching and diversifying our language for the living world. He shares some of his favourites with Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright and talks about why its so important to celebrate the language we use to talk about the natural world. Produced by Mair Bosworth.
10/10/201727 minutes, 29 seconds
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Are we all speaking football?

Lifelong Arsenal supporter Michael Rosen and football-uninterested Dr Laura Wright talk to Adam Hurrey about the language, and in particular, the clichés of football. Football is a linguistic microclimate, with coinages shooting into everyday speech: back of the net! Producer Sally Heaven.
10/2/201727 minutes, 44 seconds
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Malorie Blackman on Language

Malorie Blackman, author of Noughts and Crosses, talks in depth to Michael Rosen about language: the writing that has shaped her and how she's used language in her own influential work. Her lifelong love of reading was fostered by the libraries she went to as a child. If she had to choose between being a reader and being a writer, she says, she'd choose being a reader.. Producer Beth O'Dea.
9/19/201727 minutes, 52 seconds
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Eat My Words: How to Describe Food Flavours

Michael Rosen and Laura Wright ask Great British Menu judge Andi Oliver and author of The Flavour Thesaurus Niki Segnit how they describe the flavours of food. Niki describes coriander and lime as "the wooh woohs in 'Sympathy for the Devil' - completely and utterly indispensable". But grapefruit, on the other hand, is "standoffish".. She brings a cheese and a mystery item into the studio for Michael and Laura to taste and then try to put into words. Simile and metaphor, comparision, classification, memory, humour, disgust - all of these help in the tricky but satisfying task of pinning down the unpindownable. Producer Beth O'Dea.
9/12/201727 minutes, 53 seconds
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David Walliams on writing for children

David Walliams talks in depth to Michael Rosen about how he writes his children's books like Mr Stink and The Boy In The Dress. His acute awareness of language developed from a young age, and he was influenced by the books he read then, from Roald Dahl to James Bond. He talks about how The Shining was the surprising model for Awful Auntie, and about the boy who originally gave him the idea to start writing for children..
5/23/201727 minutes, 57 seconds
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Game On: The Language of Video Games

With 99% of 8-15 year olds playing video games, Michael Rosen & Dr Laura Wright explore how gaming is influencing language and storytelling. From terms like 'epic fail' and 'levelling up' entering education and politics to sophisticated developments in interactive storytelling taking on the cinema and film industry. Narrative paramedic, Rhianna Pratchett and Associate Professor in Games Research, Esther MacCallum Stewart guide us through the world and language of gamers. There will be zombies... Producer: Sarah Addezio.
5/16/201727 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Postbag Edition

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright answer listeners' questions from the Word of Mouth inbox and postbag. They're joined by guests, Katherine Fry and Rowena Kirton, authors of the book 'Grammar for Grown-Ups' to talk about everything from your grammar gripes to queries about why everyone seems to be using or abusing the word ''literally' lately. Producer: Sarah Addezio.
5/9/201727 minutes, 38 seconds
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Cucks, snowflakes and virtue signalling: the new US political lexicon

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright interview the eminent US linguist George Lakoff about the new political words coming out of the US right now, mainly from the alt-right, and the effectiveness of Trump's use of language. George Lakoff is the former Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. His thesis is that people's lives are significantly influenced by the central metaphors they use, whatever their political beliefs, and that how information is framed is crucial in how it is received. Producer Beth O'Dea.
5/2/201727 minutes, 15 seconds
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Jacqueline Wilson talks to Michael Rosen about language

Writer Jacqueline Wilson talks to Michael Rosen about her love of language and how she came up with the idea of Tracy Beaker. She describes her imaginative life as a child, walking along telling stories to herself under her breath, fascinated by words. She can trace her interest in writing real and believable children to the books that she loved as a child, from Little Women to Lolita.. Producer Beth O'Dea.
4/25/201728 minutes, 4 seconds
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How Countries Got Their Names

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright find out how countries - including this one - got their names, and what they mean. Why isn't Greenland green? How is Venezuela like a Little Venice? And what's the only state in the world named after a woman? With Professor Richard Coates. Producer Beth O'Dea.
4/18/201727 minutes, 8 seconds
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Frenchified: The Influence of French on English

Michael Rosen & Dr Laura Wright find out how much of our language comes from French roots, from Anglo-Norman onwards. A Sunday lunch menu from The Ritz is food for thought, and Dr Richard Ashdowne explains the surprising history behind many words we think of as English, with the help of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Producer Beth O'Dea.
4/11/201726 minutes, 51 seconds
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Like, Totally Awesome: The Americanisation of English

Michael Rosen is joined by writer Matthew Engel and linguist Dr Lynne Murphy to discuss the Americanisation of English. Is the pace of Americanisation of British English really increasing? Why do Americans say eggplant and sidewalk, rather than aubergine and pavement? Why does your spellchecker insist it's 'color' not 'colour'? Do Americans complain about the 'Britishisms' creeping into use in the States as much as we complain about Americanisms in use in the UK? Does it really matter if British and American English begin to be used interchangeably and could we stem the flow if we tried? Producer: Mair Bosworth.
2/28/201727 minutes, 50 seconds
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Emoji: The Future of Language?

Is emoji really the world's fastest growing language? (And can it really be said to be a language at all?) Who gets to decide which pictograms get added to the official set of emoji? Do they clarify the meaning of written language or are they dangerously open to misinterpretation? And why did the aubergine emoji get banned from some social media platforms? Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright are joined by Professor Vyv Evans to talk all things emoji. Producer: Mair Bosworth.
2/21/201727 minutes, 48 seconds
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Intonation: The Music of Speaking

Michael Rosen and Laura Wright explore the tunes we sing when we are speaking - without even realising it. Sound artist John Wynne extracts the melodies to play in the studio and Sam Hellmuth explains what we use intonation for. Producer Beth O'Dea.
2/14/201727 minutes, 53 seconds
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Pet or Pest? The revealing words we use about animals, and dog names

Michael Rosen and Laura Wright on the language we use to talk about animals - and the names we give our dogs. Do the words used show changing attitudes? They're joined by Professor Alison Sealey, linguist at Lancaster University and co-investigator on a new study: People, Products, Pests and Pets: The Discursive Representation of Animals. Producer Beth O'Dea.
2/7/201727 minutes, 32 seconds
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Words Roadshow in Birmingham

Michael Rosen and linguist Esther Asprey answer questions about interesting local and family words from listeners at a Words Roadshow at the Birmingham Literature Festival. What's a gubbins? What is your dander, when it's up? And what could it be that you're doing if you do a flink-a-flonk... Recorded at BBC Birmingham. Producer Beth O'Dea.
1/31/201727 minutes, 21 seconds
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Susie Dent on Language

Michael Rosen and Laura Wright talk to Susie Dent, lexicographer and word lover known for her expert contribution to Countdown and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. She has been uncovering the secret language tribes of Britain: the words used only between themselves by groups like publicans, binmen and builders..what on earth is "disco rice"? Producer Beth O'Dea.
10/18/201627 minutes, 37 seconds
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Reading: The Science and the Pleasure

As part of the BBC LovetoRead campaign, Michael Rosen talks about his first experience in reading, with Dr Laura Wright, and how and what he reads now. They're joined by cognitive psychologist Professor Kathy Rastle to explain the amazing process by which we read, and to find out how fast the average reader reads, and how many words they know.. Producer Beth O'Dea.
10/11/201627 minutes, 35 seconds
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Snotrils and Jumpolines: Kids' Invented Words

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright explore the words that children invent and reimagine, from snotrils and jumpolines, to Farmer Christmas and the hippyhoppymus. What do these linguistic leaps of imagination tell us about how children learn language? With writer Nicola Skinner and linguist Dr Kriszta Szendroi, who explains what's going on in the brain when children reach for the right word. Producer: Mair Bosworth The research study on 'logs-key' referred to in this program is the work of Jesse Snedeker (Harvard University) and Yi Ting Huang (University of North Carolina).
10/4/201627 minutes, 48 seconds
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Small Talk

Pointless chit chat or vital social lubricant? Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright talk small talk with psychotherapist and writer Philippa Perry, author of 'How to Stay Sane'. Why do we bother with small talk? What are the rules of banter? And what are we really talking about when we talk about the weather? Producer: Mair Bosworth.
9/27/201627 minutes, 47 seconds
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Directions: North South East and West

Michael Rosen & Laura Wright discover how different ways of talking about directions in other languages show differences in ways of thinking. Professor Lera Boroditsky explains how in some languages, you might be asked to move your chair a bit to the north, or to put the socks in the east drawer... And the past may be conceived of as in front of you, rather than behind. How do the languages we speak shape the ways we think? Producer Beth O'Dea.
9/20/201627 minutes, 57 seconds
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Lost Words and Secret Connections

Have you ever wondered why there's no word for that universal affliction of early morning worry & wakefulness? Or how to describe the act of eking every last drop of washing up liquid out of the bottle? Mark Forsyth, author of The Etymologicon, takes Michael Rosen and linguist Dr Laura Wright on a lexical expedition into what he calls the 'sewer system' of the English language- where words lie lost, forgotten or banished- until now. Producer Kirsty McQuire.
9/13/201627 minutes, 42 seconds
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Break Ups and Brexit

How do you find the right words to make- or break- a personal relationship? Or to leave a political union, for that matter? To consider the clichés and coinages used to negotiate matters of the heart by everyone from novelist Edith Wharton to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Rosen & linguist Dr. Laura Wright are joined by Zoe Strimpel of the University of Sussex. Also, in the aftermath of the UK's EU Referendum, author & journalist Sam Leith riffs on the term 'Brexit' and the infectious wordplay it spawned. Producer Kirsty McQuire.
9/6/201627 minutes, 44 seconds
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Punctuation

Michael Rosen talks to Keith Houston about punctuation symbols and how they came to exist. Keith is the author of Shady Characters: Ampersands, Interrobangs and Other Typographical Curiosities. Producer Beth O'Dea.
5/24/201627 minutes, 58 seconds
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Andrew Graham-Dixon on the naming of art movements

Michael Rosen and art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon take a tour through the naming of art movements. Surrealism, Impressionism, the Renaissance, the Pre-Raphaelites, Modern, Contemporary - how did they get their names and what does that tell us? Which terms have entered the language? With linguist Dr Laura Wright. Producer Beth O'Dea.
5/17/201627 minutes, 38 seconds
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Snuck and Sung: Irregular Verbs

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright explore irregular verbs with Dr Marcelle Cole, and a contribution from Steven Pinker. What are they, where did they come from, and why do they exist in English? Are there any new ones being produced, and how are they used in real life? Producer Beth O'Dea.
5/10/201627 minutes, 55 seconds
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Roald Dahl's Language

Michael Rosen on a new Roald Dahl dictionary collecting the amazing words he invented - like squackling, and wondercrump! With Dr Laura Wright and dictionary editor Dr Susan Rennie. Producer Beth O'Dea.
5/3/201627 minutes, 56 seconds
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PR - How Not To Do It

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright talk PR with Public Relations practitioner Hamish Thompson. He's collated examples of the words and phrases used in PR that people find most annoying, and is on a mission to root them out. Epic..or epic fail? Producer Beth O'Dea.
4/26/201627 minutes, 51 seconds
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Metaphors for the Past: From Dinosaurs to Victorian Values

Michael Rosen and Dr. Laura Wright talk to Dr Ross Wilson about how we talk about historical eras in order to define the way we live now, and how we've progressed. Ross Wilson is a historian at the University of Chichester who's written a book called The Language of the Past delving into the origins of terms about periods in history - Stone Age, mediaeval, Victorian Values - when we came up with them and why we use them. How historically accurate are they and does it matter? Producer Beth O'Dea.
4/19/201627 minutes, 37 seconds
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House Names

Michael Rosen talks to Dr Laura Wright about her new research on popular house names, from Foo Choo Villas to Nutty Hagg to Orchard Cottage, and what this tells us about our history. She's uncovered why some houses have names but some have numbers, and what this tells us about our history. Place names expert Professor Richard Coates joins them to talk about the origins of these words in the UK. Producer Beth O'Dea.
4/12/201628 minutes, 4 seconds
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Steven Pinker on Language

Professor Steven Pinker joins Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright in the studio for a wide-ranging talk about his love of, and life working in, language. Steven is Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and he's come up with some of the biggest and most exciting ideas about language. His books include The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and most recently, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Producer Beth O'Dea.
4/5/201628 minutes, 2 seconds
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Tip of the Tongue

It's an experience we've all had - desperately trying to recall a word. You might know the letter it begins with, the letter it ends with, but it just won't pop into your head. So how will Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright cope as we try and induce this most frustrating state: Tip of the Tongue? They are put under the spotlight by psychologist Dr Meredith Shafto, and try to find ways round it with the help of somebody who can memorise a 1000-digit number in an hour - memory Grandmaster Ed Cooke. Producer: Melvin Rickarby.
3/1/201627 minutes, 35 seconds
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Talking or Texting?

We take it for granted that we can maintain our friendships and family relationships now in so many ways: phone, voicemail, email, text, instant message, Facebook, Skype.. but do we have any idea of the effects of these very different modes of communication? Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright look at research into their emotional impact. Leslie Seltzer is Research Associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has tested the differing effects of a hug, a phone call and a text between mothers and daughters. Dr Mirca Madianou is Reader in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research is into mothers from the Philippines who've come to work in the UK and then try to look after their children back home by Skype. What works best for families living on different sides of the world? Producer Beth O'Dea.
2/23/201627 minutes, 36 seconds
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Mouthpiece: Turning the Spoken Word into Songs

Michael Rosen & Laura Wright hear about Mouthpiece, a project in which composer Jennifer Bell has been given access to interview people from the Speaker to the barista about their working lives in the Houses of Parliament. She's then created songs from their words to show the human side of life there, and to reflect on the ways in which Parliament voices the country. There is a tradition of using verbatim speech in music, and Michael compares Jennifer's work to the Radio Ballads of Ewan MacColl and Charles Parker, in particular Singing The Fishing. Producer Beth O'Dea More information about Jennifer Bell's work can be found on her website, www.jenniferbellcompany.com.
2/16/201628 minutes, 4 seconds
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Taking Turns in Conversation

Michael Rosen and linguist Dr Laura Wright discuss how well we judge taking it in turns when we're in conversation. Professor Stephen Levinson has new research on the science behind this, and joins them in the studio for a carefully-calibrated discussion.. He believes that the back-and-forth pattern we instinctively fall into may have evolved before language itself. Levinson's research has found that it takes about 200 milliseconds for us to reply to each other, but it takes about 600 milliseconds to prepare what we're going to say - so we're preparing as we listen. Levinson notes that this is a pattern found across all human languages, and some animal species, and that infants begin taking turns in interactions at about six months of age, before they can even speak. But what's going on when someone seems to get it wrong, to interrupt or talk over the other person? Producer Beth O'Dea.
2/9/201627 minutes, 22 seconds
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The Top 20 Words in English

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright guide us through the top 20 words in English. Not the best or most popular (that would include tentacular, ping-pong and sesquipedalian (look it up - it's a cracker). Plus a lot of swearing. No this is the 20 most commonly used. It's actually quite a boring list - full of 'And', 'I', 'of' etc - but look a little closer and it tells you all about the structure of language. The little words you really can't do without that glue all the other ones together. This kind of list comes from a branch of lingustics called Corpus Linguistics. It looks at the frequency and distribution of words in large bodies of text or speech. You can apply it to anything - political debates, lonely hearts columns or pop songs. Which is exactly what our guest Prof Jonathan Culpeper has done. That's high end linguistics and Pharrell Williams. Only on Word of Mouth. APPENDIX 1 - THE LIST! * the * be * to * of * and * a * in * that * have * I * it * for * not * on * with * he * as * you * do * at.
2/2/201627 minutes, 48 seconds
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How Shakespeare Spoke

Forget Laurence Olivier and Peggy Ashcroft, Al Pacino and Judi Dench. To take us back to Shakespeare's own time Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright hear Shakespeare as he himself would have spoken. The original, unvarnished version from linguist David Crystal and actor Ben Crystal. They look at the fashion for Original Pronunciation and ask what it can tell us about how we speak now. Michael and Laura perform some of Shakespeare's best known work in the original accent and attempt to bring new meaning and wit to language coated by centuries of veneer. Producer: Mair Bosworth.
1/26/201627 minutes, 52 seconds
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Slang

What is slang, where does it come from, and which subjects attract the most slang words? Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright thrash it out with lexicographer of slang and swearing Jonathon Green. Producer Beth O'Dea Jonathon Green is the author of Slang: A Very Short Introduction.
1/19/201627 minutes, 33 seconds
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Language Evolution: A Gene for Language?

How come humans learn to speak and use language in extraordinarily sophisticated ways, without any conscious effort, while other animals do not? Recent research suggests that the answer lies, in part, in our genes. And three generations of a British family held the key to discovering which gene. Neuroscientist Dr Frederique Liegeois joins Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright to discuss the genetic basis of language. Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.
10/27/201527 minutes, 57 seconds
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Gorilla gorilla gorilla: Latin names for animals and plants

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright talk to River Cottage natural forager and writer John Wright about the surprising and wonderful Latin names used to describe animals and plants, and how they came to be. What is an Aha ha? John Wright is the author of The Naming of the Shrew: A Curious History of Latin Names. Producer Beth O'Dea.
10/20/201527 minutes, 44 seconds
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The Alphabet

Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright take us through the A-Z of the alphabet, with the help of Professor Nils Langer. How do we come to have the letters we do? Producer Beth O'Dea.
10/13/201527 minutes, 37 seconds
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Inventing Brand Names

Michael Rosen & Dr Laura Wright look into how new commercial brand names are invented, with Greg Rowland, the semiotician who came up with the name of a new perfume for Calvin Klein. Which words and sounds work, and which don't, and why? Professor Will Leben talks about how his company came up with the name Blackberry, and the uses of sound symbolism. Producer Beth O'Dea.
10/12/201527 minutes, 49 seconds
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Romance and Romanticism

In a romantic edition, Michael Rosen, Dr Laura Wright and Professor John Mullan explore the clusters of meanings and differences between the words romance and the Romantic poets, romanticism and the romance languages. Producer Beth O'Dea.
9/29/201527 minutes, 41 seconds
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Reading: Print v eBooks

Michael Rosen & Dr Laura Wright discuss with linguist Professor Naomi Baron the quantifiable differences between the experience of reading print books and of reading eBooks, or onscreen. Which allows for deeper reading and a stronger emotional response, and what is the future of reading? Producer Beth O'Dea Naomi S. Baron is the author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World.
9/22/201527 minutes, 49 seconds
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Number Words

First in series. Michael Rosen and Dr Laura Wright explore the numbers one to ten and look at how we understand - and misunderstand - the language of numbers. Why is a shampoo called Zinc 24 so much more appealing than a shampoo called Zinc 31? How do we cope with offers in supermarkets? Alex Bellos and Michael Blastland explain. Producer Beth O'Dea Alex Bellos is the author of Alex Through the Looking-Glass: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life.
9/21/201527 minutes, 9 seconds
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Non-Verbal Communication

Michael Rosen and Laura Wright sob, hum and buzz as they consider whether the sound of a word has any connection with its meaning. With guest Professor Steven Connor. Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery.
5/26/201527 minutes, 9 seconds