The World in Words

Exploring all aspects of language, from linguistics and ethnography to pop culture and philosophy.  The World in Words has been creating highly teachable and engaging episodes for years.  Similar to the podcast The Allusionist, it’s worth perusing their archives to find themes or problems that you want to explore in the classroom.  (One might even find an episode devoted to one’s own mother’s beloved mother tongue, for example).   There are many segments, within episodes, that lend themselves to in-class listening and discussion.   All in all, worth subscribing and listening to regularly, if you’re keen to bring more audio into your courses.

Especially teachable episode

   Which version of Indian history do American school students learn?  This episode deserves a much pithier and provocative title because it’s a marvelous little piece of audio-exploration.  The episode includes tape from a California public debate about which terminology should be used by textbooks to refer to Indian history. It frames this debate, which is a heated and moving one, with a range of philosophical and political frameworks for approaching “history,” “identity,” “religion” and even the very nature of accents.  (There’s a noteworthy apology by the podcast’s creator, Patrick Cox, at the end of the episode: this could be excellent to re-play in class as a prompt for exploring the problematic ways in which some accents become marked and others naturalized as “right”).