This podcast is 100 percent Persian. Consider it a primer for the Obama Administration as it sizes up Iran’s leaders. First, a report on the BBC’s new Persian language TV service. Then Persian-language radio from the Voice of Israel. After that, a profile of Iranian-American spy novelist Salar Abdoh. We round things off with writers Firoozeh Dumas (“Laughing Without an Accent”) and Azar Nafisi (“Reading Lolita in Teheran” and “Things I’ve Been Silent About”).
In the few hours since I published this podcast, an American reporter who has visited Iran emailed me: “You just spoke about how difficult it is for journalists to get into Iran. Well, I don’t know if this is true, but the guy at Iran’s Permanent Mission to the UN tells me that it’s nearly impossible for Iranian journalists to gain entry into the US. So part of Iran’s difficult process is a tit for tat. I can’t verify this, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to look into, in a ‘war of words’ sort of way. ”
That’s worth following up on.
Listen to The World in Words #39 on iTunes or here.
We kick off with blogger and linguist Mark Liberman‘s take on President Obama’s inaugural address. Then, a report on whether the disappearance of the term “war on terror” in post-Bush Washington will result in policy changes. Then a little something on language learning: incoming Presidents often try – and fail – to get Americans to learn a second language. Finally an inventive piece of Algerian slang that mixes Arabic and French. Listen in iTunes or here.
As George W. Bush becomes a private citizen again, we consider his legacy by means of a name he once cited: Alden Pyle, a fictional CIA officer dreamed up by Graham Greene in The Quiet American. Also, a new Indian mockumentary focuses on Bush’s blunders, verbal and otherwise. Finally, the national anthems of Ghana — the official one that sounds oh-so-British and the unofficial one that everyone loves. Listen on iTunes or here.
Two hundred years after Louis Braille was born, the writing system he invented for the blind is still going strong. Also, the Israeli government has trouble translating a Hebrew word meant to convey withdrawal without any defeatist connotations. Plus, two French items: a new language test that would-be French citizens must take, and Brooklyn’s very own faux French band, Les Sans Culottes. Listen in iTunes or here.