Spectacular Vernacular

New Siri. Who’s This?

How Apple is trying to be more inclusive with its newly developed voices for Siri.


Episode Notes

On today’s episode of Spectacular Vernacular, Nicole and Ben talk about the new Siri voices. They also interview Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne, hosts of Lingthusiasm, a podcast that’s enthusiastic about linguistics. And finally, they put a listener’s anagram skills to the test. You don’t want to miss this! 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 June Thomas.

Here are some notes and references from this week’s show:
Consumer Reports, “Hey Siri, Is That You? Apple’s New Voices Resonate With Some Black iPhone Users” 
Spectacular Vernacular interview with VocalID founder Rupal Patel on “choosing your voice” 
Axios, “Apple gives Siri a less gendered voice”
Gretchen McCulloch and Lauren Gawne’s podcast, Lingthusiasm 
Lingthusiasm on Patreon


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.