Inside Story

Current affairs & culture from Australia and beyond

95 words

Podcasts

Benedict Cumberbatch and the art of distance assimilation

7 January 2016

Inside Language | In the first in a new podcast series, linguist Kate Burridge talks to Peter Clarke about how we merge and lose sounds in spoken language – and how they sometimes reappear

Right:

Distance harmoniser: Benedict Cumberbatch. Sam/Flickr

Distance harmoniser: Benedict Cumberbatch. Sam/Flickr


Benedict Cumberbatch set off a small storm when he unconsciously pronounced penguin as “pengwing” in a recent wildlife documentary. For linguist Kate Burridge, it was another case of “distance assimilation,” one of the ways we tend to harmonise the elements of difficult words as we speak. In the first of a series of Inside Language podcasts, she talks to Peter Clarke.

Inside Story podcasts published before August 2016 are now archived in iTunes – just click here and scroll down the list of titles in reverse chronological order.

Duration: 7 minutes 20 seconds

Show Comments

Read next

90 words

Podcasts

Colliding words

Kate Burridge & Peter Clarke

12 February 2016

Inside Language | Disinterested or uninterested? Honing in or homing in? Kate Burridge and Peter Clarke look at the shades of meaning that might have had their day

Right:

Homing in: Steven Pinker speaking at New York’s Strand Bookstore. jmm/Flickr

Homing in: Steven Pinker speaking at New York’s Strand Bookstore. jmm/Flickr