More linguist soldiers, selling beer in North Korea, and a beach in Ghana

In this week’s podcast, we begin with an update on Dan Choi, the Arabic-speaking lieutenant who faced a military discharge because he spoke out about this sexual orientation. Choi also explains why learning a language within the military (in his case at West Point) is so different from going to a language school on civvy street. We also have a report on a small Pentagon program to attract foreign language speakers.


Next up,  a new TV ad out of North Korea that invites you to drink the local brew. This ad — one of very few in the Hermit Kingdom —  clocks in at two and half minutes long. More like an informercial really. And just like an informercial, it’s full of dodgy claims: this beer relieves stress, improves health and lengthens your life. But in its  pseudo-heroic way,  it makes its point. It even made me thirsty, and curious about exactly how Kim Jong Il-approved beer tastes. Outsiders who’ve tried it generally like it. Apparently, it’s sour, bitter and cloudy. A bit like a night in Pyongyang. This Taedonggang‘s for you, or something.

After sinking a couple of cold ones,  we give thanks to activist listeners — yes, you! — in Gagauz, Tongan, Czech and many other languages. The thank yous are to everyone who posted links to the podcast, blogged about it, or wrote a review in iTunes.  Tusind tak!

Finally, as Barack Obama heads to Ghana, we head to the beach in Ghana. Not just any beach but a place whose name is hotly debated. Another iteration of how place names play a key part in forging history and memory.

Listen here or in iTunes.

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2 responses to “More linguist soldiers, selling beer in North Korea, and a beach in Ghana

  1. Pingback: Bolt, Crook and Payne: What’s in A Name? | the world in words

  2. Pingback: Bolt, Crook and Payne: What's in A Name? | PRI's The World

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