Episode 002

Season 1: Episode 2: How to read a city; and Melbourne’s ‘untranslatable’ words

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In this episode of Playopolis, we explore aspects of language, and how words and language allow us to shape the world around us. How do our worlds differ based on the language that we use? And how do they connect and intersect?

In part one we speak with La Trobe University academic and Lingthusiasm podcast host Dr Lauren Gawne, and RMIT University academic and language researcher Dr Kerry Mullan about linguistic landscapes. We find out how to read a city by decoding the traces of language and culture that we find when exploring and observing our streets and laneways.

In part two, we explore Melbourne’s ‘untranslatable’ words with 64 Ways of Being language researcher Rachael Vorwerk. For the past year, Rachael has been interviewing Melbourne’s diverse communities about words that can only be translated to English by telling a story.

She asks the question:
Can a simple word shape how we experience the world?

Episode 2 show notes

01:55 What is a Linguistic Landscape?
03:44 Layers of meaning in cities
05:06 Decoding New Caledonia
06:40 Cities in videogames
08:09 Australia’s diversity
09:20 How to read a city
11:37 Singapore’s multiple languages
13:55 Walking with the Koorie Heritage Trust
16:03 The red stripe of the Eureka Tower
16:32 Expanding semiotic landscapes

18:55 Playtesting 64 Ways of Being

25:37 Untranslatable words (part 1)
27:26 Different uses of ‘Shoak’ (Sinhalese)
29:14 Ethics of ‘Philotimo’ (Greek)
32:00 Honouring family with ‘Xiao Shun’ (Chinese)
35:19 ‘Torschlusspanik’ = Gate Closing Panic! (German)
39:04 Credits