The Weekend Listener is an eclectic weekly list of noteworthy podcasts and radio recordings, old and new, curated for your listening pleasure. Posts in this series are published on Fridays – please search the website for the previous instalments.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of languages are likely to become extinct just over the next couple of decades. Most of them belong to predominantly oral cultures: as a language dies, so does a record of complex beliefs, stories, mythologies and histories. This short podcast episode of The Takeaway is a conversation with Bob Holman and David Grubin, makers of the 2015 PBS documentary Language Matters. [Duration: 9’18’’]
Dracula is probably the world’s most famous literary vampire, the subject of numerous novels, retellings, spin-offs, film and television adaptations… The tale of the mysterious Transylvanian nobleman has captivated audiences ever since Bram Stoker’s original Dracula novel first came out in 1897. On the occasion of Stoker’s birthday (8th November), listen to this podcast to learn more about the celebrated Irish writer. [Duration: 48’34’’]
Did you know that trees live in families and have ways of communicating with each other? Designed for intermediate-level English learners, this BBC Radio podcast is a short discussion on the subject of trees. Practice your listening skills and find out some fascinating facts about trees! The webpage contains a full transcript of the programme, as well as the accompanying vocabulary notes. [Duration: 6’16’’]
Before Roman expansion, the single most developed and sophisticated society on the Apennine peninsula (apart from the Greek colonies) was that of the Etruscans. Where did they come from, and how much is known about their language, religion, and political institutions? This episode of the Ithaca Bound podcast is an interview with Prof. Alexandra Carpino, co-editor of A Companion to the Etruscans. [Duration: 46’06’’]
CULTURE & SOCIETY
For almost two decades now, social media has been playing a big role in our everyday lives. We have come to rely on Facebook, Twitter and other networks to help keep us in touch with friends and family, but also to provide entertainment, news updates and almost everything else imaginable. But what kind of effect have they all had on our mental health? Would we be better off without them? How to stay sane in the current social media environment? Professor Lisa Coyne, PhD, explains. A full transcript is available on the webpage. [Duration: 56’29’’]
RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY
All Saints’ Day, marked in many countries on 1st November, is behind us, but the whole month of November is filled with various other commemorations, festivals and remembrance days. This episode of Slovakia Today features representatives of different religions and several Christian denominations explaining how the dead are honoured in their respective traditions. [Duration: 26’56’’]
Is there a podcast episode you’d like to recommend on these or related topics? You’re very welcome to share it in the comments section below.