Subtitle

by Quiet Juice · · · · 15 subscribers

Language unites and divides us. It mystifies and delights us. Patrick Cox and Kavita Pillay tell the stories of people with all kinds of linguistic passions: comedians, writers, researchers; speakers of endangered languages; speakers of multiple languages; and just speakers—people like you and me.

Stereotypes about Mormon missionaries tend to overshadow their great success in foreign language learning. Why is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so skilled at teaching languages? We hear from missionaries, teachers and scholars, in Utah and Finland. Photo by Kavita Pillay. Music by Blue Dot Sessions, Booker and the Yeomans and Podington […]

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Tags: language, society & culture, global, pri, foreign, radio, words, news, international, patrick cox, public, npr

Older Episodes

There's a new language class on offer at Harvard. Gullah Geechee is a creole language developed by enslaved Africans and still spoken today. As far as anyone knows, it's the first time it's been taught anywhere. Sunn M'Cheaux — na
'Real’ or ’synthetic’? 'Authentic' or ‘lab-grown’? 'Bloodstained' or ‘green’? The highly-regulated words that describe diamonds define their narrative — and maybe even their value. We take you to New York’s Diamond District
Words we love to hate Nov. 20, 2019
Are you repelled by certain words? Do you get that fingernails-on-chalkboard feeling when someone says 'moist,' 'dollop' or 'fascia'? In this week's episode Kavita Pillay, who has some word aversions of her own,
Not so anonymous Nov. 6, 2019
Want to say or write something anonymously? Or pretend you're someone else? Good luck. Linguists are using evermore sophisticated means to figure out who you really are. In this episode we trace the rise of forensic linguistics, from identifying th
Coming up in the first season of Subtitle with Patrick Cox and Kavita Pillay: Words we love and hate. Words that solve crimes. Words we lose and find. Words that resist translation. Subtitle brings you stories about languages and the people who speak the
Coming soon: Subtitle Oct. 7, 2019
Ever wondered why language simultaneously unites and divides us? Mystifies and delights us? Patrick Cox and Kavita Pillay tell the stories of people with all kinds of linguistic passions: comedians, writers, researchers; speakers of endangered languages;
In the West, we are used to sci-fi written by English-speakers who dream up English-speaking utopias and dystopias. Often in the final reel, humanity is saved by English-speaking heroes. So what should we expect from China's newly- thriving sci-fi scene? Does it have its own hopes and fears, specific to …
When American Lynne Murphy says 'sure' to her British husband, he thinks she means 'not really.' After 18 years together, they still disagree-- and not just on 'sure.'
Poetry thieves Sept. 5, 2018
Some people see British poet Ira Lightman as a champion of poets whose verses he valiantly defends. Others view him as a blowhard who delights in ruining other people's reputations. Either way, the story of his poetry sleuthing might make you think differently about what exactly plagiarism is.
Some people believe technology will render Braille obsolete, that blind people will choose talking apps and audiobooks over embossed dots. Maybe, but Braille has been written off many times before. Each time, it has come back stronger. We trace Braille from its beginnings, in Napoleon's France, through the "War of …
Professional soccer used to export its English-language terminology, giving other languages words like 'penalty' and 'goal.' But now, the roles are reversed. English-speakers use expressions loaned from other languages to describe skill moves: 'rabona,' 'panenka,' 'gegenpress.'
Basque is a language isolate. Spoken in a region that spans northern Spain across the border into southern France, it is not part of the Indo-European language family. It’s not related to Spanish or French or German or Greek or any known language. The origins of the language are a …
Your brain on improv May 24, 2018
Ever wondered about people who can improvise on stage? How the words seem to come so easily? Neuroscientist Charles Limb and comedian Anthony Veneziale did. First came the bromance, then Veneziale found himself improvising inside an fMRI machine.
My language is my home May 17, 2018
Lea is a teenager born and raised in Japan. Her mother is Chinese, her father American. She speaks English, Mandarin and Japanese but isn’t sure which of them is her mother tongue. Karolina lives in Boston but grew up in several countries and speaks a bunch of languages. Her English …
Alina Simone was born in the Soviet Union to Russian-speaking parents and now lives in New York. She initially raised her daughter to speak both English and Russian. So why did she give up on Russian and send her daughter to a Chinese immersion school?
Do you talk to your dog? Does your dog talk back to you? Dr. Doolittle’s dream of talking to the animals is one many of us can share. But what do all of those howls and growls mean and is it really language? This week on the podcast NOVA’s Ari …
The Story of 'X' April 3, 2018
From X-rated to Gen X to Latinx, the meaning of 'X' has shifted while retaining an edgy, transgressive quality. We trace the meandering semantic route of 'X' through the 20th and 21st centuries, with help from Afro-Latinx writer Jack Qu'emi, retired linguistics professor Ron Smyth and film historian Adrian Smith.
In 2012, a little known Swedish press published a children’s book that sparked a nationwide debate. The debate wasn’t about the plot of the book, nor the pictures, but concerned a three-letter word used by the main character of the story. That word was the relatively new, gender neutral pronoun …
A British Mx Tape March 19, 2018
The UK is obsessed with honorifics. Remember, this is the land of Barons and Earls and Ladies and Sirs and the ultimate HRH, "Her Royal Highness." But even if you can't claim HRH, selecting "Mr." or "Mrs." or "Miss" is a standard part of filling out many forms and documents. …