In the latest World in Words podcast: a translator recalls the Nuremberg Trials; sign languages that don’t have signs for some Islamic words; the phrase that Manute Bol didn’t invent; a controversial move in Southern India to make Tamil more official; and those alleged spies from Russia and their faux Euro/Canadian accents. Download MP3
In this week’s World in Words podcast: you can hear Latin America’s clearest, crispest Spanish in Colombia. So, Bogota is now home to everything from call centers to telenovela production houses. Also, what the spread of Spanish in the United States is doing to both the language and the country. Finally, Dora the Explorer and Kai-Lan: two fictional TV characters who introduce American kids to their first words of Spanish and Chinese.
In this week’s World in Words podcast, the case for and against Globish. A group of writers and artists debate the proposition that a simplified version of English is uniquely equipped to take over the world. Also, health care access for non-English speakers in the United States. Plus, a conversation with Gregory Levey, whose book “Shut Up I’m Talking” has more Facebook fans than Bill Clinton. Download MP3
In this week’s World in Words podcast, the newest star of Germany’s national soccer team is an ethnic Turk. His popularity is one of the reasons why Turkish has become just a little more accepted in Germany today. Also, the Georgian government pulls down a statue of Joseph Stalin in his hometown, but people there use the language of extreme denial to describe the town’s most famous son. And a British politician calls French a “useless” language to learn. Download MP3
In this week’s World in Words podcast, an attempt to get Belgians to adopt families online from across that country’s language divide. Also, in Montenegro, the government is promoting what it calls the Montenegrin language, formerly considered a dialect of Serbo-Croatian. Plus, a discussion on what happens to spelling in the age of Spell Check and Google.
In the latest World in Words podcast, it’s not just Brazil vs Spain at the World Cup. It’s Bafana Bafana vs Les Elephants, soccer vs football, cleats vs boots and the coach vs the gaffer. We have stories on the new adidas ball and its globally correct corporate name; on the race to rename streets in South African cities; and on the US-English confrontation off the field: the linguistic battle over soccer terminology. Download MP3
In this week’s World in Words podcast, Anamika Veeramani won the National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word “stromuhr”. It’s one of many English words in the contest that sound decidedly unEnglish. After a report on that, we speak with David Wolman, whose book “Righting the Mother Tongue” traces the anarchic evolution of English spelling. English is barely policed: foreign words, often with foreign spelling intact, migrate unhindered into the language. Download MP3
We hear from a Jerusalem-based journalist who is sending his kid to Arabic/Hebrew bilingual preschool. Also, a Seattle rabbi visits the Cairo Genizah, and explains why so many sacred Jewish texts were written in Arabic. And we hear from experts at the New York Public Library on the secrets that a book’s smell will reveal to an educated nose. Download MP3
In the latest World in Words podcast, our top five language stories of the past month: translating Iceland’s economic collapse, document by document; magnificently bad translations in Shanghai and at the Eurovision Song Contest; a language for communication with extraterrestrials; Arizona moves against accented schoolteachers; and Costa Rica’s new president Laura Chinchilla is one of millions of people who are named after animals.
Translators are proving their worth twice in this week’s World in Words podcast: in New York, they’re helping elderly Russian speakers fill out their census forms; in Louisiana and Mississippi they’re interpreting for Vietnamese-American fishermen whose livelihoods are threatened by the big oil spill. Also, which tastes better: Silverfin, Kentucky tuna or Asian carp? Plus, a conversation about counting: some languages are more numerate than others.Download MP3
In this week’s World in Words podcast, a language-learning marathon is over, as the author of a blog called 37 Languages decides which one to learn for real. Also, a new film documents a year in the life of an elementary school in Turkey. The kids speak only Kurdish, their teacher only Turkish. And we profile one of Ukraine’s most beloved performers: the cross-dressing Verka Serduchka, who is popularizing a hybrid Ukrainian-Russian dialect.
In this week’s podcast, the U.S.Census Bureau is firing on all linguistic cylinders to ensure that non-English speakers are counted in this year’s census. Things don’t always go smoothly: in Vietnamese, the word “census” got translated into something closer to “investigation”. Also, how to pronounce that unpronounceable Icelandic volcano, Scrabble obsession beyond the English-speaking world, and five unique Japanese expressions.
In 1973 Sue and Peter Westrum and their baby went to live among an indigenous tribe, the Berik, in Indonesian New Guinea. Their aim was to learn the oral Berik language, develop a script for it, and then translate the Bible into Berik. They spent more than 20 years there. It was a time of great transformation for the Berik people, their beliefs and their language.
Our top five language stories this month: Why Google Translate rules, and why human translators shouldn’t feel threatened; a weight-loss company advertizes for Product Testing Associates, whose sole task is to eat more food — not the first time an employer has over-egged the job title pudding; there’s evidence that certain accents are less welcome than others in corporate boardrooms; India’s economic rise and linguistically mixed marriages mean that fewer young Indians speak the languages of their parents; and French citizens vote on new words for “buzz”, “chat”, and “newsletter.” Download MP3
When it comes to naming a street, you can go with the bland: Bella Vista Ave. Or not: Mugabe St. In the Palestinian city of Ramallah, some recently named streets celebrate “fallen matyrs”. Israel too, memorializes its “freedom fighters” from the early 20th century. Also, a conversation with the head of the world’s largest Bible translation organization. The group wants to translate the Bible into every language by 2025. Finally, language journalist Michael Erard declares why henceforth he will use only words that are locally grown and sustainably packaged. Download MP3