Acclaimed Australian linguist Professor Nick Enfield has come to the conclusion that language is good for lawyers, for the purposes of persuasion, but bad for scientists who seek to accurately represent reality. It's a fascinating idea he explores in his new book Language vs Reality. What can language describe and where does it fail? Presenter Michael Rosen explores this with him in an in-depth conversation.
Producer Beth O'Dea
Nathan Filer on the ways we talk about mental health
Nathan talks with Michael about words we use when talking about mental health.
Producer Sally Heaven
It's Gone Dark Over Bill's Mother's
In Britain talking about the weather is a good neutral way to start conversation. Because we have such varying weather conditions (three seasons in one day) there is always something to marvel at or grumble about. But around the world sayings and descriptive words for clouds, winds, rainfall and dry spells are also popular. Michael Rosen is joined by lexicographer, Harry Campbell, who compiled a Compendium of Weather to discuss the various ways we like to talk about it from the North East of Scotland to the South West of England via Wales and Northern Ireland. Snel winds, dreich days and nesh climates all feature along with some of the hundreds of contributions sent in by listeners from around Britain.
Producer for BBC audio in Bristol, Maggie Ayre
The language we use about children in care
Adoptive parent Margaret Reynolds talks about the language used around children in care. From the unthinking people asking about 'real parents' to the clinical language used to describe children's lives.
Producer for BBC Audio in Bristol, Sally Heaven
3 Ways to Speak English
Dr Jamila Lyiscott describes to Michael Rosen the 3 ways in which she speaks English according to whether she's at home, at school or with friends. Her TED talk on the subject is one of the most-viewed language performances on the internet and is used in education. She self-describes as a trilingual orator and asks: who decides who is articulate?
Produced by Beth O'Dea for BBC Audio Bristol