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Radio Omniglot

Education Podcasts

A podcast about language and linguistics

A podcast about language and linguistics


United Kingdom


A podcast about language and linguistics








Episode 39 – What a Year!

In this episode I look back at 2020 and talk about what I’ve been up to this year in terms of work, language learning and other stuff. Music featured in this episode Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch See the score for this tune. Goats / Geifr Simon Ager · Goats / Geifr You can […]

Episode 38 – Success and Failure

In this episode I discuss success and failure, particularly in relation to learning languages. Are they just different ways of look at the same thing? At what point can you say that you have succeeded to learn a language, or have failed? Does it matter? I was inspired to make this episode by a video […]

Episode 37 – The Hardest Languages

In this episode I discuss which languages are hardest to learn, and what makes some languages more difficult to learn than others. It’s not possible to provide a definitive list of the most challenging languages as it depends on a variety of factors. This hasn’t stopped people from doing this anyway. Here are some examples: […]

Episode 36 – The Easiest Languages

In this episode I discuss which languages are easiest to learn for native speakers of English, and what factors make languages easy or difficult to learn, including grammar, spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary, the availablity of resources, and so on. Tunes features in this episode Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch See the score for this tune. […]

Episode 35 – Adventures in Etymology

In this episode I take you on an adventure in etymology, the study of where words come from, and how they have changed over time. I start with the word etymology, and see where I end up. Tunes features in this episode Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch See the score for this tune. Push […]

Episode 34 – Dutch

In this episode I talk about Dutch (Nederlands), a West Germanic language spoken mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium. I talk about the language itself and its history, about my attempts to learn it, and related stuff. English words of Dutch origin include: Santa Claus, yacht, yankee, wildebeest, wagon, wiggle, waffle, stove, stoop, snack, skate, […]

Episode 33 – Giving Up

In this episode I talk about reasons why we stop learning learning langauges. Why we give up on them and quit. This is based on a poll I posted on the Omniglot Fan Club on Facebook. Top reasons for giving up on a language include losing interest, not having enough time, getting distracted, another language […]

Episode 32 – Acutal Fluency

In this episode I talk to fellow podcaster and language nerd, Kris Broholm. He makes The Acutal Fluency Podcast, on which he talks to language learners about their language learning experiences and journeys. We talk about language learning, about Danish (Kris is from Denmark), and other language-related things. Tunes features in this episode Hedge Cats […]

Episode 31 – Talent

In this episode I talk about talent, particularly talent for languages. Do some people have an innate talent for learning languages? Do others lack such a talent? If you don’t have a talent for languages, can you learn one anyway? Further reading: Tunes features in this episode Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch See […]


Epsiode 30 – Gibberish

In this episode I talk about, and in, Gibberish – what it is, where it comes from, how I learnt it, and possible reasons why some people find it difficult to learn. How to speak Gibberish: Tunes features in this episode Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch See the score for this tune. Dancing on […]


Episode 29 – Language and Music

If you’re good at languages, does it follow that you’re good at music, and vice versa? In this episode I talk about links between languages and music. I explore similarities and differences between learning and using languages, and learning and playing music, based mainly on my own experiences. Links Languages and Music Edinburgh […]


Epsiode 28 – Languages in Fiction

In this episode I talk about how languages are used in, and invented for works of fiction, such as books, films and TV programmes. I also look at the ways writers indicate that characters are speakers in foreign languages without actually writing in those languages, and how accents are used for a similar effect in […]


Episode 27 – I don’t trust that pig!

In this episode I talk about how learning silly, obscure and weird words and phrases, and playing with words can actually help you to learn languages. Here are some screenshots of phrases I’ve collected in Czech, Danish, Esperanto, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish, mainly from Duolingo. Many of these phrases are rather silly, which is […]


Episode 26 – The Man Who Made Birch Bark Talk

In this episode I tell the story of the Man Who Made Birch Bark Talk, or James Evans, who invented the Ojibwe script, and later adapted it to write Cree, Inuktitut, and a number of other languages. Sample text in Ojibwe syllabics ᑲᑭᓇᐌᓀᓐ ᑲᐱᒪᑎᓯᐗᑦ ᓂᑕᐎᑭᐗᒃ ᑎᐯᓂᒥᑎᓱᐎᓂᒃ ᒥᓇ ᑕᐱᑕ ᑭᒋᐃᓀᑕᑯᓯᐎᓐ ᑲᔦ ᑌᐸᑫᑕᑯᓯᐎᓐ᙮ ᐅᑕᔭᓇᐗ ᒥᑲᐎᐎᓐ ᑲᔦ ᓂᑄᑲᐎᓐ […]


Episode 25 – Fishing for Words

In this episode I talk to a friend of mine, Ruth Fischer, about her experiences of learning and using languages. Ruth grew up in Wales speaking English at home, and learnt Welsh, French and German at school. She spent a year in Switzerland as an au-pair, which was good for her German and French, and […]


Episode 24 – Volapük

In this episode I talk about Volapük, an international auxilliary language created in the late 19th century by Johann Martin Schleyer, a German priest. I look at the history of the language and its structure and vocabulary, and also talk a bit about Schleyer himself. Volapük was the first international auxillary language, or indeed constructed […]


Episode 23 – Czech (čeština)

In this episode I talk about the Czech language (čeština / český jazyk). I give an overview of the language itself, talk about my efforts to learn it. Examples of Czech noun cases Nominative: (Já) ji vidím = I see her Genitive: Její květy jsou modré = Her flowers are blue Dative: Dávám jí květiny […]


Episode 22 – Numbers

In this episode I discuss numbers, counting, and some of the other ways to refer to numbers and amounts in English – there are a lot more than you probably realise. Links Information about numbers and numerals


Episode 21 – Benefits of learning small languages

In this episode I talk about some of the benefits and advantages of learning minority and lesser-studied languages, focusing particularly on the Irish and other Celtic languages. I talk about my own experiences with these languages, and the benefits they have brought me. Gleann Cholm Cille There’s no point in learning small languages, is there? […]


Episode 20 – Language Families

In this episode I talk about language families – what they are, and how they develop, and I introduce some major and minor language families. According to Wikipedia, a language family is “a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestral language or parental language, called the proto-language of that family”. According to […]