The Weekend Listener #18

The Weekend Listener is a monthly list of noteworthy podcasts and radio recordings, old and new, curated for your listening pleasure. For more listening tips please search the website for previous instalments.


The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Edward Sapir, American anthropologist and linguist

Also known as the hypothesis of linguistic relativity, the Sapir-Wharf hypothesis posits that language creates social reality; in other words, your language influences, dictates even, how you see and interpret the world. Linguists are still divided over this idea, and there are different variations of this hypothesis. Learn more about it in this episode of the History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences podcast. The webpage contains a useful reading list on this topic. [Duration: 30’31’’]


Full of the Joys of Spring

Photo by Pixabay on

Rob and Feifei of the BBC Radio’s The English We Speak programme explain the meaning of the English idiom ‘to be full of the joys of spring’. The webpage includes the full transcript of the dialogue, and you can download the accompanying PDF and audio files. Suitable for students at the intermediate level. [Duration: 2’31’’]


Thomas Hardy’s Poetry

Thomas Hardy

Nowadays known mainly for his novels, Thomas Hardy was also an accomplished poet (one of his short poems was recently featured here on the Grammaticus blog, ‘Winter in Durnover Field’). In this episode of the BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time programme, panelists discuss Hardy’s enduring poetic legacy. [Duration: 51’]


The History of Water

Photo by Pixabay on

Often taken for granted in the developed world, water and access to it has shaped human life and social organisation for millennia. Water features prominently in many myths and legends all over the world, which is hardly surprising as all life critically depends on it. The author of the book Water: A Biography sits down with Doug Fabrizio, the host of RadioWest, to discuss the role of water in the history of civilisation. [Duration: 51’30’’]


What is ‘Woke’?

The word woke is defined as “being conscious of racial discrimination in society and other forms of oppression and injustice” ( Even though it’s been used a lot in recent years, sometimes even as a slur, it’s a lot older than many assume. The philosopher Jack Russell Weinstein explains the concept of woke in this episode of Philosophical Currents, a Prairie Public Broadcasting programme. [Duration: 24’17’’]


Messiah Revealed: The Hidden Treasures of this Celebrated Piece

George Frideric Handel (Ger. Georg Friedrich Händel)

Handel’s monumental oratorio Messiah is one of the most recognisable pieces of classical and sacred music. Even if you think you are well familiar with it, listen to this in-depth analysis of the historical and spiritual background to Handel’s famous work, provided by Ivars Taurins, the founding director of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir. [Duration: 53’59’’]

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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