lingthusiasm:Episode 67: What it means for a language to be...


Episode 67: What it means for a language to be official

The Rosetta Stone is famous as an inscription that let us read Egyptian hieroglyphs again, but it was created in the first place as part of a long history of signage as performative multilingualism in public places. Choosing between languages is both very personal but it’s not only personal – it’s also a reflection of the way that the societies we live in constrain our choices.  

In this episode, your hosts Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch get enthusiastic about language policy and how organizations and nation-states make language decisions that affect people’s everyday lives. We also talk about the excellent recent lingcomm book Memory Speaks by Julie Sedivy, the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (currently ongoing!), and many ways of unpacking the classic quote about a language being a dialect with an army and a navy.

Read the transcript here.


In this month’s bonus episode we’re getting enthusiastic about word games and puzzles with Nicole Holliday and Ben Zimmer of Spectacular Vernacular! We talk about patron questions, including lots of Wordle content: what Ben and Nicole learned from interviewing the creator of Wordle, our favourite Wordle variants such as IPA Wordle and Semantle, and comparing our Wordle solving strategies with a demo game on air.

Join us on Patreon to listen to this and 60+ other bonus episodes. You’ll also get access to the Lingthusiasm Discord server where you can play and discuss word games and puzzles with other language nerds!

Here are the links mentioned in this episode:

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Email us at contact [at] lingthusiasm [dot] com

Gretchen is on Twitter as @GretchenAMcC and blogs at All Things Linguistic.

Lauren is on Twitter as @superlinguo and blogs at Superlinguo.

Lingthusiasm is created by Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne. Our senior producer is Claire Gawne, our production editor is Sarah Dopierala, our production assistant is Martha Tsutsui Billins, and production manager is Liz McCullough. Our music is ‘Ancient City’ by The Triangles.

This episode of Lingthusiasm is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license (CC 4.0 BY-NC-SA).


lingthusiasm:Episode 67: What it means for a language to be...