Overview of episodes

Listen to a teaser from Series 2 here: Language and Change Management

Overview of episodes

EpisodeShownotesKeywordsGuest/s
S1E1 Why language matters Part 1: Setting the sceneIn this first episode, we discuss how language matters in business and show how communication, far from just passing on information, is used for many different functions in organisations. Their guest is Michael Handford,who has taught communication skills to and developed training materials for professionals in a variety of industries. They talk about communication textbooks and the need for large collections of real texts to improve them. The episode also features a short analysis of a text in which a management company seeks residents to comply with safety regulations.communication textbooks, language awareness.
soft skills
Michael Handford
S1E2 Why language matters Part 2: constructing social realitiesIn this episode we talk about  how communication and language actually create our social realities, how they influence or even determine how we perceive what we think is true, and how language is used by others to mould or even manipulate our perceptions of reality. They demonstrate the power of language in psychology experiments, inflated job titles and the wording of business letters. Our interview guest for this episode is Dennis Mumby from The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who will talk about the role of communication in organisations. In the analysis part, the hosts scrutinise the language on the recruitment pages of a company.organisational communication, social constructivismDennis Mumby
S1E3 Language(s) in advertising and brandingWhy is it that many commercials on fragrances and cosmetics resort to French words or French accents? How come that ‘The Gates of Mordor’ sounds more frightening than ‘The Gates of Mirdir’ and why is that a New York-based ice-cream maker decided to go for a Scandinavian sounding brand name? Find out more about the impact and use of language in and on branding and advertising in our third episode, in which we talk about sound symbolism, linguistic fetishism, language choice and how they connect to brand identities. These concepts will be further explained and illustrated in an interview with Helen Kelly-Holmes, who is an expert on language use in multilingual advertising and global branding. advertising, branding, multilingualism, sound symbolismHelen Kelly-Holmes
S1E4 Talking to customersIn this episode we bring in the know-how of a politeness expert, we get practical insights from a seasoned consultant and we get an interesting visit from a kangaroo on a unicycle. Each in their own way, these guests show the importance of different aspects of language in sustaining healthy customer relationships, ranging from language choice, over politeness issues to bonding through creativity, all the while underscoring the importance of context, as also shown in our analysis of a business-to-business example. customer communication, linguistic creativity, politeness, service encountersJonathan Culpeper, Jane Lockwood
S1E5 Customers talking backIn this episode, we introduce the topic of customers talking back, from irony and boycotts to fake reviews and word of mouth. Our interview is with business communication scholar Camilla Vasquez, who has published on the topic of reviews. And in the final part of the episode, we analyse a Twitter interaction in which a customer asks a tongue-in-cheek question of a company.customer communication, online reviews, word of mouthCamilla Vasquez
S1E6 Crisis communicationIn a (cynical) special for Valentine’s Day, we introduce different types of crises as well as communication strategies to deal with them. Our interview guest is Matteo Fuoli, whose publications include works on trust building and trust repair. And in the final part of the episode, we analyse a letter featuring an apology, written in 1928 by the artist Thelma Wood to her former lover, the writer Djuna Barnes.crisis communication, trustMatteo Fuoli
S1E7 StorytellingIn this episode, we talk about story structure and storytelling in political, corporate and branding contexts. Our interview guest is David Boje from New Mexico State University, who draws on Native American philosophy and contemporary drama to investigate storytelling in multinational companies and narratives around the climate emergency Staying with the latter topic, we analyse the opening of a TED talk by climate activist Greta Thunberg.environmental activism, narrative, corporate storytellingDavid Boje
S1E8 LeadershipWe start the episode by talking about the gendered connotations of leadership and then move on to different leadership styles, including during the Covid crisis, during which we recorded this episode. The first of two interviews is with Louise Mullany, followed by our second interview guest, Roshni Moneeram. The data analysis involves the use of humour in leadership.leadership, humour, political communication, transactional and relational communication Roshni Moneeram, Louise Mullany
S1E9 Story of a scandalIn our first co-production, we teamed up with en clair, a podcast about forensic linguistics, literary detection and language mysteries, to tell the story of the rise and fall of Enron. We decided to have the usual parts of a W&A episode ‒ introduction, interview and analysis ‒ bracketed by the en clair host, Claire Hardaker, tell the story of the company. We focus on internal emails made public, which were also analysed by our interview guest, David Wright. The replies to those warning of things going catastrophically wrong at Enron feature many of the ways in which companies often respond to complaints.Enron, accounting, complaints, emails. corpus linguisticsDavid Wright
S1E10 Applying for a job Part 1: The language of job adsThis is the first part of a mini-series on recruitment – little did we know at the planning stage that we would produce and publish it during the Covid furlough, when many people were rethinking their work life. Going in chronological order, we start with the channels for and wording of job ads, especially for low-paid jobs. We interview Ruth Breeze who has published on recruitment websites, and we analyse a text and image from a company’s training scheme.employee branding, employee socialization, gendered language, framing
double voicing
 Ruth Breeze
S1E11 Applying for a job Part 2: Language and impression managementIn the second part of our mini-series on recruitment, we turn to job applications: where making a first impression is a matter of seconds and unconscious bias looms large, every word counts. But cultural context also matters, as does the digital footprint and, perhaps even more so, the digital shadow of applicants. We talk to Anna Marie Trester, a linguist who advises linguistics graduates on how to find jobs outside academia. And we finish the episode by doing an audit of each other, to see what impression we give off online. digital footprint, unconscious bias, recruitment, Goffman, storytellingAnna Marie Trester
S1E12 Applying for a job Part 3: The job interviewIn the final part of the mini-series on recruitment, we take a close look at job interviews. Given the Covid context of the episode, we talk about the specific challenges of interviewing on video with our first guest, Dorottya Cserző. We then introduce a model from pragmatics, namely H.P. Grice’s the cooperative principle and conversational maxims, and discuss how they become relevant in job interviews. Our main interview guest is linguist Celia Roberts, who has conducted a number of studies on job interviews – her final recommendation may surprise you! We round off the episode by analysing a real-life interview that was broadcast as part of a documentary series on British television. conversational maxims, gatekeeping, job interviews, recruitment Dorottya Cserző, Celia Roberts
S2E13 Language and change managementIn this first episode of season 2, we talk about change management and the role of language in bringing about change. We underscore the importance of language to construct and mould a reality that does not yet exist. Our first guest, Katie Best, tells us about the phenomenon of ‘culture leaks’ and the importance of message clarity. Our second guest, Paul Lawrence, co-director of the Centre for Coaching in Organisations, distinguishes between four types of listening and advocates an agenda-free approach to change communication. In the final part of the episode, we have a closer look at the use of metaphors  in change management and illustrate their functions by focussing on a prominent metaphor in change processes, i.e. the journey metaphor.change management, listening,
plain language, readability,
messaging, metaphor
Katie Best, Paul Lawrence
S2E14 The language of entrepreneurship Part 1: Talking about entrepreneurshipFrom Steve Jobs strutting the stage at Apple to that hairdresser with the quirky name on your local high street: in this episode, we start a new mini-series on the language of entrepreneurship. We look at intrapreneurs, social entrepreneurs and mumpreneurs, talk to an entrepreneur with a background in linguistics and analyse how language is used in a business plan. Whether you’re thinking of starting your own business, want to help people do so or can look back on years of running your own company — this episode is for you. genre, business plan, discourse, mumpreneurMunene Khoza
S2E15 The language of entrepreneurship Part 2: Pitches and presentationsIn the second part of our mini-series on the language of entrepreneurship, we enter the dragon’s den, meet an angel and look for gold among the crowds. Episode 15 is all about business pitches and how (not) to use language to find investors. We talk to an expert about how to pitch across cultures, get helpful advice from a venture capitalist and analyse a crowdfunding video.crowdfunding, entrepreneurs, business pitch, investor pitchDennis Davy, Alex Toft
S2E16 New Year’s specialYes, we are glad to see the back of 2020. But so much happened over those 12 months that we think it warrants a special New Year’s episode. We invited four guests to come with us on a tour of the year, from Brexit Day to university strikes, Black Lives Matter and the US elections. Oh, and we also mention that pandemic that just went and upended everyone’s lives.Brexit, Covid-19, marketisation, US electionsSten Hansson,
Liz Morrish, Paula Pérez Sobrino, Ulrike Schneider
S2E17 The language of entrepreneurship Part 3: Creativity in language and visual communicationFancy an escapist trip? Join us for the final episode on language and entrepreneurship: you’ll find yourself headbanging at a metal concert, bear spotting in Switzerland and hot tubbing in Iceland. In the process, you’ll learn more about the psychology of logos and colours, the personality of fonts and the impact of creative language use in entrepreneurship. Our fellow traveller is a consultant, semiotics educator and poet, whose insights turn him into a multi-millionaire at the end of the recording. creativity, entrepreneurs, semiotics, typography, multimodalityChris Arning
S2E18 Meetings and conflictsAre you suffering from zoom fatigue, meeting migraines or the occasional shark bite? In this episode, you’ll find out more about office diary sweet spots, types of meetings and how to deal with predators in conflict resolution. We bring in the insights of an academic and  discuss the added value of the Quaker peace testimony with a workplace mediator. And in the analysis, we’re heading for the deep waters of dysfunctional council meetings. conflict resolution, mediation, meetingsAllegra Stone
S2E19 NegotiationsWhat is the key to successful negotiations? Which mammal has the biggest heart? And how are the two questions related? Find out more in this episode, featuring the insights of a former international peace negotiator and an academic expert. Due to popular demand, we also take you to the backstage of the Words & Actions podcast when we analyse our own negotiation in a prep meeting. Plus, you’ll find out whether you have been lowballed in a negotiation, if somebody got a foot in the door with you and why words are sometimes in the order wrong. compliance, manipulation, negotiation, non-violent communicationAnne Marie Bülow, Judith Large
S3E20 Multilingualism“I’m not hungry. One egg is an œuf”. Is the author funny? Debatable. Is the author multilingual? Ça dépend. In this multi-voiced episode on multilingualism we tackle different interrelated aspects ranging from translanguaging over accommodation to effectiveness and proficiency, and we cast more light on multilingual settings and the role of BELF in them. In the process, we make Bernard eat humble pie by interviewing a very, very multilingual person and we raise multilingual voices to stop cruelty against animals, topped off with nice examples on language accommodation. Bon appétit! Business English as a lingua franca, language accommodation, multilingualism, translanguagingGladys Ansah, Evan Frendo, Anne Kankaanranta, Miya Komori-Glatz, Annelise Ly
S3E21 Translation and interpreting when the stakes are highIn this episode we eavesdrop on police interrogations and wiretaps, witness asylum seeking procedures and sneak onto a Keolis bus (on board entertainment: The Interpreter) to explore the complex processes of translation and interpreting in high stakes contexts. Joining us are a forensic linguist, an expert in asylum seeking procedures and a researcher on multimodal translation. Together, they illustrate the pervasive impact of practitioners as important decision-makers on the future, safety and prosperity of people and businesses.asylum seeking, interpreting, police interrogations, translationKrzysztof Kredens, Katryn Maryns, Victoria S. Nydegger Schrøder
S3E22 Language and technologyYesterday’s sci-fi has become today’s reality. Join us as we venture our way into the ever-growing domain of language technology in which we discover and discuss developments in speech recognition, automated translation, opinion mining and chatbot applications. Not only do we find ourselves having cheeky chats with clever cars and critical conversations with experts,  we also ponder over the pros and cons of artificial intelligence and assess our position as linguists (and one alleged Professor of Disco Studies) in view of these developments. chatbots, machine translation, natural language processing, speech recognitionJoke Daems, Orphée De Clercq, Doris Dippold
S3E23 Language and identity onlineYour identity is a right old mess. As is ours, mind you – and don‘t get us started on Marcus Rashford. In this episode we will delve into the different layers and facets of identity construction in digital spaces. Via small stories, solo selfies and networked narratives, we offer ways to inspect different senses of selves as they are created in online environments. The journey will take us past talking dogs, overpowering teacher personas (yes, we are talking about ourselves!), experts and non-experts.  And we will get started on Marcus Rashford.computer-mediated  communication, social media, storytellingAlexandra Georgakopoulou
S3E24 Selling, hard and softAre you one of those people who is always tricked into doing or buying things you don’t want? Do you want to find out how they do it or how to do it yourself? You’re in luck! If you listen to this episode, you will find out all about it! You will even get free access to all the other W&A episodes on language in business, politics and beyond and you’ll discover that your current annoyance and reluctance reading this is caused by genre awareness. Do it now or regret it later! genre, hard sell, influencers, livestream sales, native advertising, soft sellJoe McVeigh