The Weekend Listener #8

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.


Word of Mouth | Why is English so weird?

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

English learners often complain about spelling – too many words and letter combinations that don’t seem to make any sense. How did English end up that way? What’s with all the silent letters, and so many words pronounced nothing like the way they are written? Michael Rosen discusses these questions with the linguist Arika Okrent. [Duration: 27’43’’]


Bookworm | David Duchovny: “Truly Like Lightning”

When it comes to David Duchovny, most of us immediately think of agent Fox Mulder from the X-Files TV series. But apart from being a TV star and accomplished producer and director, Duchovny also holds an M.A. in English literature and happens to be the author of five novels, one of which is Truly Like Lightning, published in 2021. In this episode of the Bookworm podcast Duchovny talks about the background to this book, which includes his interest in early Mormonism, environmentalism and the American transcendentalists. [Duration: 28’32’’]


Words and their Stories | “Let’s eat!” Thanksgiving dinner idioms

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With Thanksgiving Day (the U.S. one) coming up next week, here’s a podcast on food-related expressions such as ‘to butter someone up’ or ‘to talk turkey’. The programme is designed for intermediate-level English learners. The webpage includes a full transcript and vocabulary notes. [Duration: 7’13’’]


Food Matters Live | Caffeine Culture: How Coffee Shaped the World

Photo by Tom Swinnen on

For millions of people around the world, daily life is unimaginable without the obligatory cup of coffee. Or two. The beverage has long become so ubiquitous that we’ve all come to take it for granted. But how much do you know about the history of coffee? Where did it come from? How and why did the custom of drinking coffee spread so fast? Has it always tasted the way we are now accustomed to? Prof. Jonathan Morris, the author of Coffee: A Global History, explains. [Duration: 42’52’’]


On Point | How to slow down and find some meaningful rest

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Feeling tired all the time and don’t know how to deal with the fatigue in the workplace? Listen to this interview with Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith, the author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity. The webpage includes an online quiz on what kind of rest you need, as well as interview highlights. [Duration: 47’34’’]


Secular Buddhism | Buddhism and Christianity

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This episode of the Secular Buddhism podcast explores similarities and differences between these two world religions. Are they compatible? Is it possible to be both Buddhist and Christian? What can adherents of Christianity learn from Buddhists and vice versa? The webpage contains a full transcript of the talk. [Duration: 26’11’’]

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.

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