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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Words on Wednesday: Fry's Planet Word

If you're interested in language and you haven't yet caught BBC2's fabulous programme "Fry's Planet Word", I'd like to suggest that you do. It's a five-part series of hour-long programmes exploring language in a wide-ranging and intelligent way, and the last one is on this Sunday night (but don't worry, they're available on iplayer until the end of the month).

For those of use teaching English Language A Level, it's been a godsend, with topics such as swearing, coded language (such as Polari) and how children acquire grammatical rules. Students have been delighted to see familiar names such as Jean Berko-Gleason and Steven Pinker talking to the wonderful Stephen Fry. We've also been able to see academics working on related disciplines in Psychology and Evolution Studies, and hear the stories of people with language-related problems such as Tourette's Syndrome.

My students have been enjoying the familiar nature of some of the programme's ideas, while also being stretched with new aspects that aren't on the exam specification, but no specific prior knowledge of linguistics  is assumed. Go have a look!


  1. I've been hooked on this! Glad I'm not alone in my watching-with-glee as Mr Fry once again gives my tellybox something worth being switched on for. Remember Baulderdash and Piffle?

  2. I didn't know anything about this programme, so thanks for highlighting it! Language interests me, and this seems a perfect programme for Stephen Fry. I'll definitely be checking out iPlayer. Thanks!

  3. I love this programme. I'm also an avid fan of Stephen Fry. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves words.


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