Monthly Archives: February 2009

podcast #43: Slumdogging, Hillary’s Indonesian and Arabic America

As Hollywood embraces Hindi, we ask why so many recent Oscar-nominated movies include non-English dialogue. Also, Hillary Clinton grapples with Indonesian, Irish cops grapple with Polish, and UNESCO upsets Cornish speakers by declaring their language extinct. Finally, two items on Arabic in America: the centuries-old roots of Arabic in the United States, and teaching Arabic through song. Listen in iTunes or here.

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podcast #42: potatoes, Welsh in the workplace, and a Jamaican anthem

We’re in the final days of UNESCO‘s International Year of Languages (it’s also the end of the International Year of the Potato, but that’s another story). We find out how the year has been observed and whether minority languages are any better protected as a result. Then we check in on one big success story: Welsh. Once endangered, Welsh is now spoken by more than 600,000 people. Then, a story on how Brazilians in Massachusetts – many of them undocumented – are clamoring to learn English. Finally, Marco Werman has a  history of Jamaica’s unofficial national anthem, Bob Marley’s “One Love”.  Listen on iTunes or here.

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podcast #41: speed-dating 37 languages, a woman’s voice during ovulation and a chant from Cameroon

Forget humans. Why not date a language? That’s what Keith Brooks is doing. He’s checking out 37 languages with a view to getting serious with one of them —  after he’s played the field a bit. Also, strange things happen to the pitch of women’s voices during ovulation according to this study, and this one, and this one.  Plus, we chow down sideways with a Yiddish word, and hear the tale of a chant from Cameroon that’s been popularized by Michael Jackson and Rihanna. Listen on iTunes or here.

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podcast #40: Washington’s new tone, Updike’s French Africa, and Benicio del Toro’s many Spanishes

This week’s cast begins with reaction from the Arab world to Barack Obama’s embrace of a language of “respect” toward Muslims. Then, we accompany a group of Upper Midwest dairy farmers on a trip to Mexico, where they learn the languages and culture – and meet the families of their Mexican employees. After that, we take a tour of Latin America’s many Spanish dialects with actor Benicio del Toro (Che). And finally we consider one of John Updike‘s lesser-known books, The Coup. It’s set in a fictional West African state that is obsessed with French language and culture. Listen on iTunes or here.

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