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.
Learning a new language is always a challenge. One has to adopt thousands and thousands of new words and learn complex grammar rules about how to combine them into sentences. But what if the language you were trying to learn had a total of about 100 words and the simplest grammar imaginable? Sonja Lang, a Canadian linguist, has created one such language: she named it Toki Pona, ‘good language’. [Duration: 17’37’’]
The Forum | Mark Twain: the ‘Father of American Literature’
Mark Twain is one of those writers who needs no introduction. Born on 30th November 1835, he wrote numerous essays, articles, opinion pieces, short stories and novels. He was truly a man of his time, deeply involved in the social and political life of the 19th century U.S. In this BBC World Service programme, Bridget Kendall discusses Twain’s life and works with several literary scholars. [Duration: 41’]
American Stories | ‘Luck’ by Mark Twain
More on the topic of Twain, but specifically designed for English language learners: this programme brings you one of his short stories, ‘Luck’. On the webpage you can find the accompanying transcript, vocabulary notes and a quiz, as well as the links to several more of his stories adapted for language study. [Duration: 13’20’’]
Historic Royal Palaces Podcast | The History of Christmas Traditions
With Christmas fast approaching, it’s fun to look into the origins of Christmas customs and see how this Christian holiday used to be celebrated in the past. In this programme, Dr. Mark Connelly takes us through the history of Christmas traditions, from the Middle Ages up until recent times. [Duration: 46’35’’]
CULTURE & SOCIETY
The Minimalist Vegan | Would You Live in a Tiny House
Tiny homes are a personal obsession of mine, and apparently I’m not alone. More and more people decide to go minimal when it comes to the size of their living space, for a variety of reasons. Tiny homes are incredibly cute, but are they practical? The hosts of The Minimalist Vegan Podcast discuss the pros and cons of moving into a tiny home. [Duration: 54’12’’]
RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY
Renovare | Walking as a Spiritual Practice
Walking can do wonders for your health and fitness, but apparently it can also be good for your soul. In this interview, Mark Buchanan, the author of God Walk: Moving at the Speed of Your Soul, talks about walking as a spiritual practice – an exercise in prayer, mindfulness, and discipleship. [Duration: 30’47’’]
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.