Monthly Archives: July 2008

podcast #14: Chinese script, dialects and patriotic names

With the Olympics just a couple of weeks away, Chinese national pride is peaking. What better way to express that than name your one – and probably only – child Olympic Games? We get the lowdown on that, as well as on China’s many languages and dialects. Plus, there’s something else we can blame on computers: Chinese people are forgetting how write the script of their own language. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

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podcast #13: chants, applause and faux esperanto

It’s non-verbal language this week. That means chants, whistles, grunts and other noises that crowds make.  We consider why one refrain in a White Stripes song has become so popular among European soccer fans. Also, the language of applause. Finally,  the deeply weird story about a TV ad in Esperanto – except it wasn’t Esperanto. Listen here.

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podcast #12: official English, unofficial Spanish, campaign songs and the French word for podcast

We hit the Presidential campaign trail this week. John McCain has an awkward moment with a voter who seems to want Spanish banned. Barack Obama has to deal with charges that he would force Americans to learn Spanish. Also, from 70s rock to reggaetón: the unofficial campaign songs of the Presidential candidates. And French and English exchange a few words. Some French people now say “boss” and “one-to-one.” But English-speaking Quebecers say “cinq-à-sept” and “valoriser.” Listen here.

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podcast #11: living dictionaries and a singing ambassador

It’s official: “muffin top” now has its own entry in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. This week, we consider several new words, or new meanings of old words, that have found their way into the Concise OED. We also talk with writer Charlotte Brewer about how the OED tries to keep up with the ever-evolving English language. And  we hear from two Americans who perform in foreign languages: the first is a singing ambassador, the second is rapper Y-Love. Listen here.

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