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The Spot: Language & Etiquette

Council of Europe

This week on KALW's showcase for the best stories from public radio podcasts and independent radio producers... 

Please,” produced by Helen Zaltzman for the podcast The Allusionist, originally aired April 2016.

The power dynamics around when and why we use the word “please” are complicated, and they become even moreso when we compare how employment of the word changes from culture to culture, continent to continent, even when the language stays exactly the same. 

Helen Zaltzman, hosts and produces the podcast The Allusionist. She’s also an English resident and possibly the funniest person in all of Podcast-land. In this episode of The Allusionist, she sits down with two linguists hoping to better understand why Americans and the English use the world “please” in such seemingly different ways. 


You can find more episodes of The Allusionist and find out how to subscribe to the podcast at theallusionist.org. The Allusionist is also a member of Radiotopia from PRX. You know, the podcast network Roman Mars started, featuring 99% Invisible, Fugitive Waves by the Kitchen Sisters, The Memory Palace, The Heart, so many great podcasts created by public radio rockstars. Radiotopia is on the hunt for the next great podcast idea. From now until April 17th, they’re taking submissions of show ideas from anyone and everyone who wants to get into the podcast game. Find out more details on how to apply to Radiotopia’sPodquest at radiotopia.fm/podquest

How We Learn Language,” from the podcast Two Guys on your Head, originally aired October 2015.


KUT public radio in Austin, Texas is the home of the podcast Two Guys on Your Head. In each episode, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, explore different aspects of human behavior and the brain. The two renowned psychologists cover everything from the effects of sugar on the brain, to what's happening in our minds while we sleep, and much, much more. Like this episode on about understanding the difference between Behaviorism and Gestalt Psychology by looking at our language development.

To check out this and other episode of Two Guys on your Head, go to KUT.org

This week's episode featured music from: Black Moth Super Rainbow, DJ Koze, Broken Social Scene, James Brown, and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.

If you have a suggestion for a podcast or an audio project we should feature, please drop us a line at thespot@kalw.org.

Tune in next week for another episode of The Spot, only on KALW San Francisco.