Lexicon Valley

When Talking to Your Mother-in-Law Is a Minefield

From baby talk to formal varieties, languages around the world offer—or even require—different ways of speaking for different situations.


Episode Notes

All languages provide alternative ways of speaking—so-called “registers”—depending on who is talking to whom and for what purpose. Some even require a particular specialized grammar or vocabulary when addressing elders or a spouse’s family, in which case talking to your mother-in-law can be tricky!

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo.


About the Show

If you’ve ever had curious thoughts and questions about the ways we speak, read, and write, Lexicon Valley is the show for you. Hosted by linguist John McWhorter.

All episodes