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Episode 302

Why Learn Esperanto? (Special Feature)

A language invented in the 19th century and meant to be universal, it never really caught on. So why does a group of Esperantists from around the world gather once…

Episode 301

What Would Be the Best Universal Language?

We explore votes for English, Indonesian and … Esperanto! The search for a common language goes back millennia, but so much still gets lost in translation. Will technology finally solve…

Episode 72

“Leaving Black People in the Lurch”

Linguist and social commentator John McWhorter explains how good intentions may be hurting Black America — and where the word “motherf*cker” comes from….

Episode 300

Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language?

There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel? (Part 3 of the “Earth 2.0” series.)…

Episode 1

Steven Pinker: “I Manage My Controversy Portfolio Carefully”

By cataloging the steady march of human progress, the Harvard psychologist and linguist has become a very public intellectual. But the self-declared “polite Canadian” has managed to enrage people on…

Has American Pop Music Displaced Local Culture?

…that nationwide U.S. newscasts, with TV anchormen speaking in their flat midwestern tones, would wipe out regional accents. That didn’t happen. Nor, somehow, did Esperanto manage to conquer the globe….

Episode 596

Farewell to a Generational Talent

Daniel Kahneman left his mark on academia (and the real world) in countless ways. A group of his friends and colleagues recently gathered in Chicago to reflect on this legacy…

Episode 510

What Problems Does Crypto Solve, Anyway?

Boosters say blockchain technology will usher in a brave new era of decentralization. Are they right — and would it be a dream or a nightmare? (Part 3 of “What…