Word for Word
||Australian English has many fascinating stories, interesting etymologies, and wonderfully weird slang. The language is constantly evolving as the world around us changes; new words are created, meanings change, and other things get left behind. In Word for Word, we explore the surprising histories behind everyday words and phrases, go behind-the-scenes with the dictionary editors, and meet some of Australia's most interesting word-lovers, from Scrabble champions to hip-hop artists. Join us as we explore our language: the ways we use it, the ways we abuse it, and the ways we ultimately change it.|
Search to find episodes
Nov 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
It takes a special kind of person to be a dictionary editor. You need an instinctive understanding of language, a sharp, ever-listening ear, and the ability to laugh off death threats (really). In this very special episode, Merriam-Webster's Kory Stamper and Macquarie Dictionary's Alison Moore discuss both the drudgery and the delights of their work, as we journey into the secret heart of the dictionary editor.
Oct 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
Buckle up for a wild ride down the Information Superhighway, and into Cyberspace, where language moves faster than we can catch it. While the dictionary team reflects on the technology words of the past, our resident internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch fights the good fight on hyphenated email; Adrik and Kate look for favourite words at Oz ComicCon; and we discover a brand new language online, all for the love of dogs (it's h*ckin good).
This is the final episode of Season 2, but stay subscribed! There are more bonus episodes to come in the weeks ahead.
Oct 17, 2017 | 0 Comments
In Australia, we're working with a wild array of slang: classic phrases, new inventions, and slang so good that other countries want a piece of it. In this episode, lexicographer James Lambert explains the appeal of informal language; Kate tries to blend in at the skate park (gnarly, dude!); and Sue Butler decodes a song we all know, but perhaps have never entirely understood.
Oct 11, 2017 | 0 Comments
Sometimes English spelling seems designed to bamboozle. How did we end up with all these inconsistencies, quirky flourishes, and spellings that bear no resemblance to pronunciation? In search of an answer, the editors dig into the history of English spelling - including attempts to reform it - and hint at the secret work they do for spelling bees today. Plus, we check in with the adorable contestants of the Great Australian Spelling Bee TV series, two years on; and Adrik Kemp collects favourite words from the Sydney Story Factory.
Oct 03, 2017 | 0 Comments
In politics, we can always point to the slipperiness of language. In this episode, the dictionary editors remember iconic Australian political slogans, and consider new words like "fake news" and "antifa"; we're on the hunt for favourite words at the Antidote Festival; and John di Domenico, the world's no. 1 Donald Trump impersonator, takes us inside the language of the 45th American president.
Sep 26, 2017 | 0 Comments
Every language plays by its own rules. So how do you faithfully represent the stories of one language in another? Novelist Hannah Kent remembers how it felt to see her bestselling book Burial Rites translated into 29 languages; literary translator Meredith McKinney inducts us in the secrets of her profession; and Sue Butler explains the allure of untranslatable words.
Sep 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
When it comes to the language we use around gender, change is happening fast. But some of that new language isn't so new after all. Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch takes us deep into the history of pronouns in English, and the long and useful life of singular they; the editors look to Sweden, with an eye on The Watch List; and Norrie explains how one little word took them all the way to the High Court of Australia.
Sep 12, 2017 | 0 CommentsWinston Churchill called the Australian accent "the most brutal maltreatment that has ever been inflicted" on the English language. But when Strine first emerged, it was praised as an unusually pure variety. Linguist Felicity Cox traces the history of our accent from the Sydney colony to the present day - when it's still changing.Plus: pronunciation can be a source of personal anxiety and public controversy. The dictionary editors muse on the Americanisation of Australian English, the rise of "haitch", and the oral gymnastics of "ophthalmologist".Subscribe now on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, or your favourite podcast app to get the latest episode delivered direct to your inbox.
Sep 05, 2017 | 0 CommentsA rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Or would it? In this episode, we dive headfirst into the history of naming. Tiger Webb from ABC Language helps us get to grips with given name trends, surname extinction and Australian place naming; the Macquarie Dictionary editors peel back the secret stories behind everyday eponyms; and Kate is hard at work cuddling babies.Subscribe now on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, or your favourite podcast app to get the latest episode delivered direct to your inbox.
Aug 29, 2017 | 0 Comments
Season 2 of the Word for Word podcast is coming soon!
We're back! Season 2 launches 6th September with new weekly episodes, featuring more secret word histories, more fascinating guests, and more behind-the-scenes revelations from Macquarie Dictionary. Listen for a preview of what's in store this season.
Apr 27, 2017 | 0 Comments
Before 1788, hundreds of Indigenous languages were spoken in Australia. Today, that picture looks very different, but language remains an essential part of the fabric of Indigenous identity.
In this special episode of Word for Word, we explore a language with tens of thousands of speakers, as well as some languages spoken only by a handful of people; novelist Kate Grenville tells the story of an unusual First Fleet lieutenant and his attempts to learn the Gadigal language; and we meet a young Indigenous woman in the remote community of Ngukurr, who is determined to keep her grandmother's language alive.
Feb 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
Join us as we go behind the scenes in the selection process for Macquarie's Word of the Year. We listen in on the Word of the Year committee meeting, featuring guest judges Dom Knight and Annabel Crabb; the dictionary team reflects on how the extraordinary politics of 2016 collided with our language last year; and Sue Butler is the guest of honour at a kebab house.