Posts Tagged ‘podcast’

Passionate about theatre

Title: Playwriting

Provider: National Theatre (British)

I love art and I love listening to people passionate about the subject they’re talking about. This podcasts combines both. The title may scare away some people, but believe me you don’t have to aspire to write a play to find this interesting. I was drawn to this podcast because I love to listen to writers talk about their craft. I always want to know more after reading a book: which were the difficult parts to write? Which were the easiest? Where do the names come from? Those and many, many more questions often remain unanswered. I admit I don’t think I’ve ever seen a play by any of the interviewed play-writers. The best part is – I didn’t have to. When a person is truly passionate about their subject I could listen to them for hours on end. This is, of course made more enjoyable by the fact that those people are writers. This shows in the language they use. It may not be particularly fancy or sophisticated, but somehow it just flows and is truly a pleasure to listen to. I can’t stress enough how brilliant this podcast is. It comes in video format and each episode only takes a couple of minutes. After I watched  one I could not tear myself away and watched all the others straight away (even though I should probably have been studying).

This time, for a change, I’m not telling you to go and listen, no, this time go and watch. Just take the few minutes and you will not be disappointed.

By Izabela

P.S. I’m sorry that the link is for iTunes, but the only other source I could find is YouTube.


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Title: MSt English Language

Provider: University of Oxford

Since taking History of the English Language is obligatory this year at my university I thought it would be good to find something interesting to listen to. Although the very first post I wrote on this blog is about Old English, I think the subject is really interesting and I wanted to find something more. And here it is. The podcast not only contains useful and interesting information, it also allows the listeners to see how linguists work.

For example, the one about old English was particularly insightful for me. I finally understood how people know how things were pronounced back then. I get grammar and spelling –  there are the manuscripts. But it was fascinating to find out how we know how people spoke in the Middle Ages. And no, I’m not going to elaborate – that would be a spoiler. Just go listen yourself, come back and comment.

And I would appreciate some suggestions on what subject should I find podcasts next. I mean there are only so many thing you can listen to about the language, especially with exams in those very subjects coming up. I need some fun. Pretty please?

by Izabela

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Title: James Joyce. From Ulysses, Lestrygonians.

Speaker: Professor John Bishop

Provider: UC Berkeley

On my final exam from a course on “Ulysses” my first question was whether I would recommend this book to someone else. Well, I would. With caution. It is truly a masterpiece, but one difficult to understand. I must admit that once I grew so frustrated with the book that I hurled it across the room (and this is not a norm for me, far from it). After finishing the novel I can honestly say that everyone should read it. It is very complex – there are many references within the book, recurring themes. Sometimes a veiled reference comes before the explanation itself. Joyce did not particularly bother with the reader’s comfort. However, having said all that, “Ulysses” is a masterpiece. The many narration techniques show the story from different angles. The first time reading you will be frustrated beyond belief and sometimes lost. I was lucky enough to be reading it under the guidance of prof. Oramus, who made the process easier on our class, telling us what to look for in the text and explaining references. So, the second, (and third, and fourth – you won’t resist) time you read the book you will come to appreciate it more and more.

The podcast is a little like this. It focuses on a part from the middle of the book – “Lestrygonians”. It is a good representation of what you might expect from “Ulysses”. It is seemingly chaotic, branching into many digressions. And yet it has an inner structure, making it a pleasant listening material. I have just one warning – the episode selected is focused on food – so don’t listen on an empty stomach. There is not much more I can say – I’m afraid nothing can prepare you for Joyce.

As always, listen, enjoy and please comment. Pretty please?

by Izabela

P.S. I’m sorry that the link provided is on iTunes – I know not everyone uses this program, but I can’t find anything else.

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Title: Listen to English – Learn English Podcast

Author: Peter Carter

Today I’d like to recommend a brilliant podcast I use for teaching. As the title of this post says this series is the essence of Britishness. So far my favourite episode is titled A nice cup of tea. I won’t even add anything – the title speaks for itself.

As for the technical stuff , the speech is slow, but at the same time the subjects are interesting. The episodes vary in difficulty, so they are suitable for students on different levels. The only thing that bothers me is the music added to the episodes. But that is just my opinion – usually I’m all for using different tools for learning, but I must admit I didn’t like any of the songs included in the podcasts. But maybe that’s just me – I have a weird taste in music.

I must admit I do listen to a lot of podcasts, but it took me a while to find one I could recommend as a learning tool for intermediate students. I mean the first one that comes to mind is always Stuff You Should Know, but it is too difficult for beginners.

This series is entertaining, quite easy and the episodes are short. Plus there is the enormous help of transcripts and exercises on the website.

As always, go listen and come back to comment. And if you have anything to recommend, please let me know – I really need something new to write about.

by Izabela

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Advent Calendar

Title: Download Advent Calendar

Provider: BBC Radio

This year BBC is really spoiling the listeners and subscribers. Not only do we get “A Christmas Carol”, which I wrote about in the last post, but an advent calendar as well. It is superb. It is a series of unrelated, brilliant episodes on different topics. It is difficult to describe just how good they are. It was just what I needed to get into the Christmas cheer. The podcasts contain a fabulous variety of accents, which thrills me to no end – I am a student of English Philology after all. Lately I developed an appreciation for Scottish English, because of the “Varieties of English” course at my home University, and the very first podcast is in that accent. I must admit (reluctantly) that I had to rewind the first minutes of the podcast because I was so focused on getting all the features of Scottish English, that I missed what they were talking about.

The podcasts vary from funny to informative and I believe there is something for everyone in the series. While listening to some of the episodes I laughed out loud. So, as always go and listen! Hurry to download the series, because the episodes are only available for 30 days.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night :-).

by Izabela

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Title: A Christmas Carol (BBC Learning)

Provider: BBC

Just a quick recommendation this time. As I said in the previous post I’m crazy about the holiday season. Every year without fail I read “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Sometimes I listen to the Polish version I got as a bonus to some magazine. This year there is a treat from BBC: “A Christmas Carol” podcast read by Alan Smith. It is brilliant. I’ve listened to it twice already (and there is still a week to Christmas). If you have not read this classic story yet here is your chance to listen to it. But you have to hurry – download it as fast as you can because the episodes are only available for 30 days.

If, by any chance, you know some other good recordings of “A Christmas Carol” or can recommend more Christmas stories please share.

by Izabela

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Title: Christmas Science Lectures

Provider: University of Oxford

As can be seen from the new festive background and the falling snow I’m a bit crazy about Christmas. I enjoy the holiday season and try to get the most out of it. I’m very happy to say that I’m not the only one. The Oxford University has a special series entitled “Christmas Science Lectures”. I am aware that as this blog is mostly meant for philology students, this may not be the most popular subject. But I firmly believe that everyone boasting higher education should have a basic understanding of a little of everything. I vehemently argue to ‘science’ people that reading and arts are important and just as strongly insist to all my fellow students that you cannot claim to be educated unless you know something about the world.

Now, with the rant out of the way, I can go on to recommend the series.

Even though I’m all for listening to podcasts on the way to work or the university or school, I must admit it is better to have video in this case. All of the lectures have either interesting computer presentations or (I’m sorry but there is no other word for it) cool experiments. And anyway, seeing Dr. Malcolm Stewart and Dr. Fabrice Birembaut in “The Chemistry Show” all dressed up in Santa and Elf costumes was priceless.  I know the talks are not advanced – but that is what makes them fun! I would not understand a  lecture about the Large Hadron Collider.

All of the podcasts from the series are energetic and interesting, and what is more important for poor student waiting for the Christmas break, easy. December is not a month that inspires much ambition, so listening to complicated, long lectures on university level is a bit tiring. With those series I actually couldn’t tear myself away – which says a lot, because lately (as seen from lack of posts) I couldn’t find it in me to do any listening.

By the end of the month you will probably be fed up with all the Christmas cheer on the blog, but oh well. As always, go listen and then come back and tell me what you thought.

Izabela Rudnicka

P.S. And don’t kid yourself – you will be thinking whoa at some point during the lectures. No matter how cool you are.

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