Linguistics | KALW


Council of Europe

This week on KALW's showcase for the best stories from public radio podcasts and independent radio producers... 

The problem with "sounding white"

Jan 5, 2016
Alyssa Kapnik Portraiture



We are always adjusting the way we sound. It especially depends on the social situation we are in. Linguists call it "code switching," a term originally used for people who would switch between two different languages like Spanish and English.



If there’s a smartphone in your pocket, or your pocketbook, you’re probably familiar with emojis. They’re the little icons that brighten up dry digital messages with smiley faces and hearts, skulls and rockets. These little picture symbols are meant to convey an idea, a feeling, or an object—and they seem to work. For the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for 2015 was not a word, but an emoji. 

The mysterious roots of a homegrown language

Nov 20, 2013
Liz Pfeffer

A few hours north of San Francisco is the town of Boonville, nestled in the quaint Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. Like Silicon Valley, this place is known for its innovations in communication – but in a completely different way.