On Tuesday 9th of June, one of our editors, Lesley Jeffries, was interviewed by Peter Spafford from East Leeds FM. In Spafford's show 'Love the words (more)', a show that covers everything words and language-related, Lesley talked about why Babel is published, her enthusiasm for language and the process of publishing the magazine itself.
Click on the image on the left to go to the interview.
When explaining how the idea for publishing Babel came about, Lesley reveals that as linguists with a passion for their subject, the Babel team realised that when you walk into Waterstones or WHSmith, you can buy magazines on any topic – history, nature, science – but not on language. They felt that "people are interested in language; they like to know how we communicate. So we wanted to produce a new magazine that would appeal to the populous of the imagination."
As her major drive for publishing Babel, Lesley points out that what she wants to do is "to communicate the excitement I felt when I first came across linguistics. I was just really blown away by things like: how do we articulate? How does our tongue make all those sounds that make the language work?" And this is exactly the kind of topic that you can find in Babel: articles that will introduce you to the fascinating world of language and will spark your excitement to become just as enthusiastic about language as the linguists behind the magazine.
Considering the articles in Babel, Lesley says that "we try to keep a very lively range of topics that people are researching. The people who write for us are professional linguists, they're all researching the topics. So it's got a lot of background but we try to make it accessible." This accessibility is the main focus-point for Lesley while editing. By explaining terminology and presenting linguistics research in a graspable way, Babel is not only interesting to language students and teachers, but it can be enjoyed by anyone with an enthusiasm for language. And this is also very clearly visible in our subscribers list, with a nice mix of professionals and general public, ranging from young to old and from the UK to all over the world.
The show's host Peter Spafford, who is also a writer of poetry and drama, comments that the contents of Babel are very varied and that he finds the topics "absolutely fascinating" and "just really really interesting". He advices anybody who works with language to consider subscribing to be up to date on the debates and issues in the world of language, but also for the sake of feeding your own language curiosity.
Lesley concluded the interview with her hopes for this magazine: to make so much money that she can build her own Babel tower! Realizing that this is all very pompous, she notes that her real hope for Babel is to spread around the world and that "people will want to continue, even when our careers are over, because we want people to know about this stuff!"
Listen to the full podcast on ELFM