English-language podcasts are a free, easy, and entertaining way to sharpen your listening skills and learn something new. Enjoy these recommendations.
That’s What They Say
Every week, Michigan Radio Weekend Edition host Rina Miller talks with University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan about words and phrases in the English language, where they come from, and their correct usage.
For example, is it correct to say that you eat “healthy” food or must you say that you eat “healthful” food? As Curzan points out, grammarians in the 19th century tried to make the distinction in which “healthful” means “causing good health”, while “healthy” means “experiencing good health”. This rule has been hard for many to follow as “healthy” has had both meanings for hundreds of years. So if you’ve resolved to “eat healthier” in 2016, it’s okay. And good luck!
Also, how can we sound polite? Saying “please” with a request is one way to do it. We can sound even more polite, however, by using what are called indirect speech acts. Instead of saying, “Tell me the time, please.” we could say, “Do you have the time?” Warning: be ready for the occasional smart-aleck to unhelpfully reply, “Yes, I do.”
Miller and Curzan chat about these issues in language in a humorous and easy-going manner! And as each episode is less than 4 minutes long, this podcast is one to which you can easily listen and re-listen.
Hosted by Tom and Ray Magliozzi, two car mechanic brothers who graduated from MIT, this program takes calls from listeners and answers questions about cars, car repair, and even relationships.
You do not have to be a gearhead to enjoy Car Talk. In fact, many of the people who call in don’t know anything about cars. The calls are just a vehicle (pun intended) for the brothers to have funny conversations, whether they’re delivering playful insults or commenting on their own buffoonery. The sound you will hear most on the program is the brothers’ own laughter. Of course, they also know everything about cars, so you will learn a thing or two from the show.
Although the brothers retired in 2012 and older brother Tom passed away in 2014, reruns of the hour-long program can be heard each Sunday. They remain as funny and informative as ever.