Monthly Archives: September 2008

podcast #23: endanger this! Losing and saving languages, plus tingo

We start with a US-funded attempt to revive a mountain language in Central Asia. Then a conversation with Mr Endangered Languages, Peter Austin.  Finally we hear about the meanings of some fantastically original foreign words. Don’t you wish that English had a word for an interferer at a card game who gives unwanted advice?  Listen on iTunes or here.

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podcast #22: teaching your kid to read in Urdu and teaching yourself to sing in Spanish

We get all PC on this week’s cast as we ask: did ESPN‘s Tony Kornheiser offend Spanish speakers on Monday Night Football? Then we chat with Anneke Forzani, founder of Language Lizard, a dual-language book distributor. (And yes, you really can read  Hansel and Gretel in Urdu.) Finally, we check in with singer Dan Zanes who learned Spanish so he could sing the songs on his latest album, Nueva York. Listen on iTunes or here.

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podcast #21: translating the untranslatable, and Mel Brooks and the Odessa link

Forget tough love, how about tough translation? We ask a translator of recently-deceased novelist David Foster Wallace how he rendered “Infinite Jest” into German. Then a segment on translating poetry, and the message seems to be: go ahead and mess with the meaning, but don’t rupture the rhythm. Then a take on war zone translators from Dexter Filkins of the New York Times. Finally, a trip to Odessa, alleged spiritual home of Jewish Humor. Listen on iTunes. Or here.

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podcast #20: Scottish Gaelic, Scots and the Arabic for hockey mom

A celtic cast today, topped with an Arabic primer from the campaign trail. US-based Al Jazeera TV correspondent Abderrahim Foukara talks about the challenges of translating some of the words and concepts of American presidential politics. Among the toughest: maverick and superdelegate (hockey mom is easy). Then it’s Scottish Gaelic: the BBC is launching is launching a new Gaelic TV service this month. We consder that and other efforts to reverse the decline of the language, and we drop in on a Gaelic class at Harvard. Finally we listen in on speakers of Scots, that much-maligned dialect that may or may not be a language. Language or not, it is hugely expressive. Listen here.

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podcast #19: English-only golf, Orwell’s blog and writing in a foreign language

Two newsy items top the podcast: Wasilla, Alaska, hometown of John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin, and the LGPA’s decision to ban profesional female golfers who don’t speak English. Then we have a report from the World’s technology reporter Clark Boyd on George Orwell’s “blog” followed by a segment on two Bosnian novelists – Aleksandar Hemon and Sasa Stanisic who write in foreign languages. Finally, we wrap our ears around everyone’s favorite Icelandic insult, courtesy of Stephen Dodson. Listen on iTunes or here.

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