Spectacular Vernacular

Choosing Your Voice

VocaliD founder Rupal Patel talks about the importance of identity when choosing a digital voice.


Episode Notes

On today’s episode of Spectacular Vernacular, Nicole and Ben discuss Creole languages. They also interview Rupal Patel, professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Computer Science at Northeastern University and the founder of VocaliD. And finally, Josh Levin and Joel Anderson, co-hosts of Slate’s sports podcast Hang Up and Listen join us for some wordplay. We hope you’re good at playing the basketball game of Horse. You could win a year’s membership to Slate Plus.

Do you have any language questions or fun facts to share? Email us at spectacular@slate.com.

Produced by Jasmine Ellis and Asha Saluja.

Here are some notes and references from this week’s show:
BBC Pidgin
ThoughtCo., “What You Should Know About Creole Language” 
Jamaican Creole at York College, “An Introduction to Jamaican Creole (also called Patwa or Patois)” 
Omniglot, “Haitian Creole (Kreyòl ayisyen)” 
Rupal Patel’s 2013 TED Talk, “Synthetic Voices, as Unique as Fingerprints” 
VocaliD, the company founded by Rupal Patel 
“One Year: 1995,” hosted by Josh Levin 
“Slow Burn: The L.A. Riots,” hoted by Joel Anderson
“Hang Up and Listen,” hosted by Josh Levin, Joel Anderson, and Stefan Fatsis 
Josh’s Slate piece on the history of the “air ball” chant
VocaliD’s Parrot Studio
Joel Anderson’s special episode of “Hang Up and Listen” on Michael Jordan and the Washington Wizards


About the Show

Linguist Nicole Holliday and Wall Street Journal language columnist Ben Zimmer discuss the ways language is changing, talk to scholars and writers, and set and solve word puzzles.

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  • Ben Zimmer is a linguist, lexicographer, and all-around word nut. He is the language columnist for the Wall Street Journal and a contributing writer for the Atlantic.

  • Nicole Holliday is an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on variation, intonation, and language in society.