George Bernard Shaw ridiculed the British obsession with class, recognising that its most powerful expression was not in what someone said, but how he or she said it. Using a wealth of archive, we hear how the drive to hide linguistic, geographical roots often went hand in hand with a desire to be seen as part of the metropolitan set and we hear about the post war levelling and the move away from RP.
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One in five Canadians speaks English (and French) as a second language. And more Canadians than ever speak with an accent, including Babel host Mariel Borelli. But while we love diversity in the streets, it can be a different story in the workplace. Babel explores what it’s like to have an accent on the job in Canada.
When Karen Butler went in for dental surgery, she left with more than numb gums: She also picked up a pronounced foreign accent. It wasn’t a fluke, or a joke — she’d developed a rare condition called foreign accent syndrome that’s usually caused by an injury to the part of the brain that controls speech.
Does Scrabble in fact celebrate language? Or does it merely reduce English to a set of mathematical symbols and probability calculations? In the final episode of our first series of Lexicon Valley podcasts, I talk to Word Freak author and competitive Scrabble player Stefan Fatsis about how a math game disguised as a word game nevertheless unlocks the essential beauty of the English language.