The US once ran a Cold War listening station atop a man-made mountain in West Berlin. For the American linguists who worked at Teufelsberg, it provided a combination of excitement and boredom– and a great way to avoid serving in Vietnam.
Istanbul’s Gezi Park protests have produced a new word, funny chants and songs with daringly rewritten lyrics. Even though they are being pushed out of public places, the protesters want to maintain the spirit of inventiveness and irony.
The Politecnico Di Milano is the Italian equivalent of MIT. Soon though, it may barely be Italian. The school wants to teach all classes in English. A group of rebellious faculty members have won the first round in a legal battle to stop the school switching its language of instruction.
If an immigration bill currently under consideration in the Senate becomes law, millions of people will need to learn English to become permanent US residents. That can be hard for many immigrants. But in California there’s a program that gives immigrant janitors a unique opportunity to learn English at their workplace.
Germany has done away with what is arguably the longest word in the German language, a barely pronounceable word relating to a former law on the origin of beef.
There’s a newly emboldened group in Pakistan. They’re westernized, relatively elite members of society who are often referred to as “burgers.” And they helped the party of former cricket star Imran Khan win the second highest number of votes in the parliamentary elections in May. Reporter Fahad Desmukh explains from Karachi.
Tuesday is the 24th anniversary of the brutal crackdown on protesters at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. And Chinese censors have banned all online mentions of the incident. But one term has also been blocked from online searches. “Big Yellow Duck.” Rachel Lu, editor of Tea Leaf Nation, explains the reason to host Marco Werman.
Chinese teen Ding Jinhao etched onto a 3500 relic in Egypt and caused a global uproar but 3500 years ago he might’ve been applauded. Anchor, Marco Werman speaks with Egyptologist, Chloe Ragazzoli about the significance of graffiti in ancient times.
Indian-Americans are famously fantastic spellers. But in India, many young people wilfully ignore standard English spelling. What gives? Also, our very own spelling bee pits an ironically self-described “Indian-American overachiever” against an ironically self-described “second generation slacker.”
For decades, Brits have complained about American contamination of British English. More recently, the reverse has been taking place: British expressions are elbowing their way into American speech. So far, Americans don’t seem to mind.
With 23 official languages– rising to 24 in July– the European Union is knee-deep in translated documents. Must every document be translated into Latvian and Irish? Or should the EU simplify matters by making English its working language? Also, the Webby Awards are known for 5-word acceptance speeches. Many are clever, few are boring, but are any truly memorable?
New York City-based composer Kevin James’s Vanishing Languages Project explores the musicality in four endangered languages.
Language news with Cartoon Queen Carol and Patrick. We discuss the future of Yoruba, wine flavors in Chinese, some great subtitled TV dramas that Americans are missing out on and much more.
In 1952, a mysterious Bronze Age script was deciphered by an Englishman, Michael Ventris. But his work rested in part on a Herculean analysis undertaken by an American linguist, Alice Kober. The World’s Alex Gallafent reports.