We are how we speak, right? Well, it’s complicated— enough so to spend Subtitle’s next four episodes on this question. We’ll tell the stories of a diverse collection of people, tracing how each came to speak the way they do. Along the way, we’ll ask: Is speech a good barometer of identity? Does anyone truly speak authentically? Why are we so judgmental about how others speak? And how can we overcome our biases? In this first episode, hosts Patrick Cox and Kavita Pillay tell their stories.
Jane Setter’s book about speech and accent bias is Your Voice Speaks Volumes. Colleen Cotter researches the language of journalism and cultural representation. Dennis Preston is the editor of the Handbook of Perceptual Dialectology. Romona Robinson’s memoir is A Dirt Road to Somewhere.
Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions, Podington Bear, Spectacles Wallet and Watch, Honeycutts, Alan Carlson-Green, Moss Harman, Josef Bel Habib and Arthur Benson. The photos are of Patrick and Kavita when they were so very young. Read a transcript of this episode here.