Monthly Archives: November 2008

English that’s so baaaad, it’s rotten

The Bible is being translated into Jamaican patois. For some, it’ll bring the scriptures alive; for others it’s just not how the word of God ought to sound. Then a longish segment on English that’s so bad, it’s rotten. Whether spoken by Joe Strummer, Linton Kwesi Johnson or Louise Bennett, this is the language of oppression, rebellion and revenge. It can sound more raw and authentic than the Queen’s English, but it’s often just as refined. Listen here.

Joe Strummer performing with The Clash at the Tower Theater Show March 6, 1980. (Photo: John Coffey via Flickr)

Joe Strummer performing with The Clash at the Tower Theater Show March 6, 1980. (Photo: John Coffey via Flickr)


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podcast #31: Shakespeare’s appeal, Milton’s linguistic inventions and a Japanese naming ceremony

Which dead old writer coined the words eyeball, premeditated and jaded? Which one came up with embellish, sensuous and intervolve? (OK, so they didn’t all catch on.) And which one kept a diary – now online in blog form – whose most popular entry is One Egg? It’s part one of our look at writers who have expanded the English language. Also, the Japanese word yokomeshi helps us name our segment on foreign words that defy translation. Listen on iTunes or here.

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podcast #30: One Bolivian language goes digital, another is good in road rage situations…and Zulu hip hop

First, how open source software is helping Bolivia’s Aymara language enter the digital age. Then, a nice turn of phrase in another Bolivian language, Quechua, as used by someone’s grandmother in moments of road rage. Finally, two South African hits – a proposed pledge of allegiance that has everyone in a tizzy, and a short history of South African hip hop. Listen on iTunes or here.

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podcast #29: Misleading war metaphors, Rwanda rejects French, and the crimes of Franglais

We kick off the Globama era with a discussion of how we micharacterise wars, especially how and when they end. Did the American Civil War end at Appomattox in April 1865 or at the ballot box in November 2008? Also, we examine why Rwanda is switching its language of instruction from French to English. Finally, we discover how  French words often lose their original meaning when co-opted by English speakers. Think double entendre. Think en suite. Listen on iTunes or here.

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