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The World in Words

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The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing i...Show More
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27:50 | Mar 13th

In the West, we are used to sci-fi written by English-speakers who dream up English-speaking utopias and dystopias. Often in the final reel, humanity is saved by English-speaking heroes. So what should we expect from China's newly-thriving sci-fi sc...Show More

21:26 | Oct 10th, 2018

When American Lynne Murphy says 'sure' to her British husband, he thinks she means 'not really.' After 18 years together, they still disagree-- and not just on 'sure.'
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36:13 | Sep 5th, 2018

Some people see British poet Ira Lightman as a champion of poets whose verses he valiantly defends. Others view him as a blowhard who delights in ruining other people's reputations. Either way, the story of his poetry sleuthing might make you think d...Show More

26:06 | Aug 8th, 2018

Some people believe technology will render Braille obsolete, that blind people will choose talking apps and audiobooks over embossed dots. Maybe, but Braille has been written off many times before. Each time, it has come back stronger. We trace Brail...Show More

15:42 | Jun 19th, 2018

Professional soccer used to export its English-language terminology, giving other languages words like 'penalty' and 'goal.' But now, the roles are reversed. English-speakers use expressions loaned from other languages to describe skill moves: 'rabon...Show More

34:51 | May 31st, 2018

Basque is a language isolate. Spoken in a region that spans northern Spain across the border into southern France, it is not part of the Indo-European language family. It’s not related to Spanish or French or German or Greek or any known language. Th...Show More

22:39 | May 24th, 2018

Ever wondered about people who can improvise on stage? How the words seem to come so easily? Neuroscientist Charles Limb and comedian Anthony Veneziale did. First came the bromance, then Veneziale found himself improvising inside an fMRI machine.

21:45 | May 17th, 2018

Lea is a teenager born and raised in Japan. Her mother is Chinese, her father American. She speaks English, Mandarin and Japanese but isn’t sure which of them is her mother tongue. Karolina lives in Boston but grew up in several countries and speaks ...Show More

18:04 | May 9th, 2018

Alina Simone was born in the Soviet Union to Russian-speaking parents and now lives in New York. She initially raised her daughter to speak both English and Russian. So why did she give up on Russian and send her daughter to a Chinese immersion schoo...Show More

28:51 | Apr 25th, 2018

Do you talk to your dog? Does your dog talk back to you? Dr. Doolittle’s dream of talking to the animals is one many of us can share. But what do all of those howls and growls mean and is it really language? This week on the podcast NOVA’s Ari Danie...Show More

26:10 | Apr 3rd, 2018

From X-rated to Gen X to Latinx, the meaning of 'X' has shifted while retaining an edgy, transgressive quality. We trace the meandering semantic route of 'X' through the 20th and 21st centuries, with help from Afro-Latinx writer Jack Qu'emi, retired ...Show More

29:21 | Mar 27th, 2018

In 2012, a little known Swedish press published a children’s book that sparked a nationwide debate. The debate wasn’t about the plot of the book, nor the pictures, but concerned a three-letter word used by the main character of the story. That word ...Show More

27:12 | Mar 19th, 2018

The UK is obsessed with honorifics. Remember, this is the land of Barons and Earls and Ladies and Sirs and the ultimate HRH, "Her Royal Highness." But even if you can't claim HRH, selecting "Mr." or "Mrs." or "Miss" is a standard part of filling out...Show More

32:40 | Mar 9th, 2018

In 1984, the professional wrestler “Dr. D" David Schultz smacked the TV journalist John Stoessel to the ground backstage at Madison Square Garden. Why? One word, kayfabe. If you’ve never heard of the word “kayfabe,” don’t worry. This week on podca...Show More

23:04 | Feb 21st, 2018

Humans are the only creatures on Earth that can choke on their own food. Yes, that’s right. Because we have funky plumbing. There’s a crucial split in our throats – one path that leads to the esophagus and the stomach, and another that leads to our ...Show More

23:13 | Feb 13th, 2018

He wrote to her mainly in Swedish, and she replied in Finnish. The correspondence of "Finlandia" composer Jean Sibelius and his wife Aino is funny and touching. And their letters are a goldmine for the study of code-switching.

28:25 | Jan 30th, 2018

In which we hear from another Ivanka, another Stalin and another Lenin. Ivanka's brush with fame came thanks to Donald Trump's carelessness on Twitter. But Stalin and Lenin were purposely given their names, by parents in the Indian state of Kerala. D...Show More

18:30 | Jan 12th, 2018

English is spoken with countless accents by both native and non-native speakers. But a hierarchy persists: there are 'good accents and 'bad' ones. So whether you're from Thailand or Tennessee, you may want to get rid of your accent. We hear from a fe...Show More

26:01 | Dec 20th, 2017

What are the words and images that best describe this past year? And why do some people think "whom" is obsolete? We talk with Buzzfeed's copy chief Emmy Favilla and Cartoon Queen Carol Hills who monitors political cartoons from around the world.

26:00 | Dec 13th, 2017

Remember the 1990’s flick Sneakers with Robert Redford? Robert Redford’s character leads a group of hackers on a mission to steal a decoder from the NSA. And there’s a part in the film when Redford needs to bypass security to sneak into a building....Show More

32:04 | Nov 29th, 2017

US politicians have been using the word, 'assimilation' for more than a century. How has it evolved? What does it mean in Trump's America? And how is 'assimilation' understood differently in other countries like France? Nina enlists Rupa Shenoy, host...Show More

29:05 | Nov 8th, 2017

In 2000, American poet Jennifer Kronovet began taking Yiddish classes for just one reason: to translate Yiddish poetry into English.

32:20 | Oct 25th, 2017

"Antifa." The buzzword of the summer, especially after Charlottesville. Reporter Lidia Jean Kott explores how "antifa" came into being in 1930s Germany-- and how it was resurrected in 21st century America. WARNING: this episode has explicit language ...Show More

28:31 | Oct 11th, 2017

Dubbed TV and movies suck, right? Those odd-sounding voices and that lamely-synchronized dialogue? In Germany, it's not like that. Dubbing it a highly evolved craft, with actors who specialize in voiceover and writers who genuinely improve the dialog...Show More

28:16 | Sep 27th, 2017

When Twitter comedian Jonny Sun began to write his book, "everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too," he had to write down the rules of the cutesy grammar of the language he invented.

35:04 | Sep 18th, 2017

Germans do not agree what the word 'Volk' means. Does it denote ethnic Germans or people who live in Germany? The Nazis racialized 'Volk' and its derivatives. Now Germany's New Right are reviving some of these terms.

27:19 | Aug 23rd, 2017

In the run up to the presidential election Cristina López kept coming across language on the internet that she didn’t quite understand; words and phrases like “meme magic,” and “red-pilled” and “nimble navigator.” These expressions kept popping up in...Show More

25:29 | Aug 9th, 2017

Who was Frank Zappa? Virtuoso guitarist? Modernist composer? Smutty lyricist? Anti-censorship activist? All of the above....and in much more the former East Germany. There his banned records fetched small fortunes among rebellious young men who drea...Show More

25:51 | Jul 24th, 2017

This week on the podcast producer Lidia Jean Kott cracks open a case of fortune cookie theft. "Some men dream of fortunes. Others dream of cookies." This is a real fortune cookie fortune. A prescient fortune it would turn out for Yong Sik Lee. Le...Show More

28:09 | Jul 12th, 2017

This week on The World in Words we talk about swear words from around the world and the bad words our grandmothers teach us. We hear from swearologist Stephen Dodson and author Marilyn Chin. Plus, Nina Porzucki interviews her grandmother about the me...Show More

39:38 | Jun 27th, 2017

This week on the podcast we step gingerly into scalding waters to explore the question: What is the difference between a language and dialect? Linguists hate to define it. “As a linguist I will not engage in trying to define language and trying to d...Show More

22:34 | Jun 13th, 2017

Many Russians perceive Donald Trump as an American version of Vladimir Putin. It's partly based on Trump's bombastic rhetoric, but also on how his speeches and tweets are translated into Russian.

15:19 | May 24th, 2017

Linguist Edward Vajda went to Siberia with a hunch. He returned with evidence linking a remote Siberian language with Navajo.

24:13 | May 9th, 2017

This week, The World in Words podcast visits the Moldova Authentic Restaurant in Newton, Massachusetts. Patrick Cox and Nina Porzucki talk with restaurant owners Artur and Sandra Andronic about their mother tongue. Also, what happens if you put a gro...Show More

31:19 | Apr 27th, 2017

Sonia Paul grew up California, the child of immigrants from India and the Philippines. No wonder she's fascinated by the heated debates among Indian-Americans over how school textbooks characterize Hinduism and caste.

30:43 | Apr 11th, 2017

Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels have become a global hit. Their plot is rife with love and sex and the mob AND language. This week on the podcast we explore Italy's linguistic history and the tensions between Italian dialects like Neapolitan and t...Show More

19:59 | Mar 29th, 2017

Have you attended any “Matthew parties” lately? Or ever felt “too blessed to be stressed, too anointed to be disappointed”? If the answer is yes, you speak Christianese, a "religiolect" that linguists have recently started tracking.

23:02 | Mar 16th, 2017

The Arab world used to be home to hundreds of thousands of Jews who spoke their own variants of Arabic. Today, Judeo-Arabic survives only in exile. We hear stories of language and exodus from three Judeo-Arabic speakers now living in Montreal. Plus, ...Show More

23:36 | Feb 28th, 2017

Many French people favor the English word 'black' over the local equivalent 'noir.' Why? There's a history behind it that dates back decades— in fact, two histories: the French version seeks to be colorblind while the American one recognizes race at ...Show More

21:47 | Feb 14th, 2017

Mosul-born Anoud first came to the US when Obama was president. Now she doesn’t dare leave the country. Written in English, her satirical fiction targets ISIS, the international community and even refugees.

0:00 | Jan 26th, 2017

Ekegusii is spoken by about two million Kenyans but has been losing ground to Swahili and English. Now it is taught in some schools, thanks to local language activists assisted by American linguists.

0:00 | Jan 19th, 2017

Trump hotels, Trump wine, Trump golf courses, Trump steaks – we've heard a LOT about how Trump has made millions from his name. In English the word "trump" connotes a certain grandiosity but how does his name translate into other languages? And more ...Show More

0:00 | Dec 23rd, 2016

Are the 300,000+ Dutch people who speak Frisian stubborn? Maybe...and maybe that's not a bad thing. We head to the Netherlands to hear from artists, writers, politicians and kids at a trilingual school.

0:00 | Dec 14th, 2016

WARNING: This podcast has explicit language and sexual content. This has been an election season of words: “bigly” or is it “big league,” “basket of deplorables” and you can’t forget “nasty.” But one word has recently caught a lot of people's atte...Show More

0:00 | Nov 22nd, 2016

Hakuna Matata. You may recognize this phrase. You may even find yourself humming the earworm-provoking song of the same title from Disney's the Lion King. "It means no worries" goes the lyric. But Disney fails to mention that "Hakuna matata" means "...Show More

0:00 | Nov 18th, 2016

Standing Rock is more than a social movement for clean water rights. It's also where the Lakota language is re-inventing itself.

0:00 | Nov 14th, 2016

The language you would expect to hear in the United Arab Emirates is Arabic. Yet in a place like Dubai, English is the language on the streets, cafés and malls. Many Emiratis struggle in their own mother tongue. When oil was discovered in this mainl...Show More

0:00 | Nov 9th, 2016

Folks from Salinas, California like to remind you that their valley is the “Salad Bowl of the World.” Not that you can forget. When you drive around town, everywhere you look there’s fields growing lettuce, strawberries, and broccoli. A growing numb...Show More

0:00 | Nov 3rd, 2016

We know much more about bilingualism than we did 18 years ago when Californians voted to ban bilingual education. What does the research tell us? And will it effect Californians' upcoming re-vote on the issue?

0:00 | Nov 1st, 2016

The Keres language, spoken by the Laguna Pueblo of New Mexico, is dying. When younger tribal members tried to revive it, they were blocked by elders fearful that spiritual essence of the language would be lost.
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Oct 28th, 2016

A group of anarchist Christians known as the Doukhobors emigrated to Canada in the early 1900s after becoming outcasts in Russian society. Their descendants don't use the old Doukhobor-Russian dialect, except for when they sing.
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Oct 26th, 2016

Miami, the Magic City is bilingual in practice, but not in theory, says one linguist. During the 1960's Miami was an example of bilingual education; the place where educators around the world went to see how bilingual ed was done. Somehow that got l...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Oct 20th, 2016

What is it like to learn a second language when you can't read and write in your first one? That's the challenge for this Afghan teenage refugee now going to school in Belgium.
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Oct 14th, 2016

What happens when the last native speaker of a language has died? Is that language 'dead' or just 'sleeping'? And can it be woken up again?
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0:00 | Sep 26th, 2016

When Netflix launched their talk show "Chelsea" this past May, they promised to deliver it three times a week in more than 20 languages. To do that, they had to invent a whole new translation process. We're in this interesting moment in media. The in...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Sep 12th, 2016

A Vietnamese-American stays in touch with her cultural roots through language and song. But which language besides English will she pass on to her own children? Vietnamese or...Spanish?
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0:00 | Aug 18th, 2016

The Canadian government eliminated many indigenous languages by sending children to church-run boarding schools. But the government has apologized and pledged to help bring back those languages. In British Columbia, the Ktunaxa language is making a m...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Aug 8th, 2016

What pronouns do you use? Have you ever been asked? Do you ask others their pronouns? This week on the podcast, we hand over the reins to our talented summer intern Paulus van Horne to share a very personal story about pronouns. In the spring of 20...Show More
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0:00 | Jul 28th, 2016

Hawaiian is often offered up as a language revitalization success story, a model for other endangered languages to follow. But language revitalization isn’t so simple. While activists are reviving the Hawaiian language, opening up pre-schools, teach...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jul 14th, 2016

This just in: Arabic is not a violent ideology. It is a language that a handful of Americans are learning and loving.
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0:00 | Jun 29th, 2016

Nina, Patrick and friends record this episode in front of a live audience at the New York Public Library. They discuss the rewards and challenges of language revitalization, complete with singalongs and a few dodgy jokes.
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0:00 | Jun 8th, 2016

In the late 1970s the writer Alberto Manguel was working in Milan for an Italian publisher that had taken to publishing hidden or little-known manuscripts found in secret libraries. One day the publishing house received a package that contained a str...Show More
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0:00 | May 26th, 2016

Japan's indigenous Ainu language is a mystery. Russian-born Anna Bugaeva is one of several non-Ainu linguists who have become semi-fluent in the language. They are on a mission to document Ainu, and figure out where it came from, before it disappears...Show More
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0:00 | May 5th, 2016

Dutch-born writer Gaston Dorren grew up speaking two languages, fell in love in a third, and added a fourth and fifth along the way. OK, he's obsessed with languages but in much of Europe multilingualism is common. Also, who owns Klingon?
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0:00 | Apr 27th, 2016

New England is full of names that have odd and unexpected pronunciations. Woburn is more like WOOOOburn; Billerica gets transformed into Bill-Ricka. One of the more unexpected variations comes from a small town in New Hampshire with a familiar name —...Show More
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0:00 | Apr 18th, 2016

The Etruscans lived in central Italy more than 2500 years ago. They were "the teachers of our teachers," the Romans. Yet we still can't be sure where they came from. The key to unlocking the Etruscan enigma may lie in genetics and linguistics.
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0:00 | Apr 5th, 2016

If you want to upset French language purists, learn to speak Chiac. It's a dialect of Acadian French spoken in New Brunswick that borrows liberally from English. Even as other North American dialects and languages are vanishing, Chiac seems to be sti...Show More
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0:00 | Mar 24th, 2016

What’s in a name? Turns out more than you might think. What’s the deal with Tightsqueeze, Virgina? Where did the name for Dallas’ famous Reunion Tower come from? This week on the podcast we’re going to dive into some of these Nametag stories. Nameta...Show More
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0:00 | Mar 17th, 2016

For centuries, colonialists, church leaders and educators discouraged Irish people from using their native tongue. When Ireland won its independence, its leaders had no idea just how difficult it would be to bring the language back. Despite that, the...Show More
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0:00 | Mar 10th, 2016

Have you ever wondered about the name of a place? Why that name? Who named it? Why is it pronounced the way that it is? Well, The World in Words is going to dig into the stories behind place names in the United States and abroad. This will be part ...Show More
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0:00 | Mar 3rd, 2016

English speakers may not realize it, but the world is full of people who speak more than one language. A couple of recent studies show that we begin to develop our ear for language-- or languages-- long before we learn to speak.
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0:00 | Feb 17th, 2016

New to The World in Words? Well, first off, thanks for listening. And if you liked the Eddie Izzard episode last week, you might enjoy our episode with French comic Gad Elmaleh or our episode about the Pop Punk Accent. For all that and more head...Show More
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0:00 | Feb 8th, 2016

This week on the World in Words: Comedian Eddie Izzard. Eddie Izzard has often joked about language from the silliness of Latin to why English speakers are so stubbornly monolingual. However, in late ‘90’s, Eddie decided that it wasn’t enough to jok...Show More
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0:00 | Jan 28th, 2016

Bradley Campbell goes home to Dallas, Oregon, to find out why his Honduran-born father decided to "kill" Spanish a couple of years before Bradley was born.
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0:00 | Jan 19th, 2016

Two years ago the Moroccan-French Comedian Gad Elmaleh had a dream to do 10-minutes of stand-up in English for an American audience. Elmaleh is a pretty big name in France. He can fill enormous arenas. But he left notoriety behind in France and came ...Show More
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0:00 | Jan 14th, 2016

Among the mansions and golf clubs of the Hamptons, Shinnecock Indians are trying to re-learn their language which died out more than a century ago. Plus, David Bowie and the word, "They".
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0:00 | Jan 8th, 2016

Emoji is a Japanese term for the cute little symbols you can text and tweet from your phone and PC. There are emojis for pizza and taco and apple but recently writer Jennifer 8 Lee discovered that there is no official dumpling emoji. Dumplings are on...Show More
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0:00 | Dec 28th, 2015

To close out 2015 the World in Words wanted to leave you smiling. Here's one of our favorite interviews with Canadian comedian Sugar Sammy.
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0:00 | Dec 21st, 2015

In South Korea, mastery of American English is a status symbol. Families send their kids to academies chosen for their American instructors. We hear from an English teacher from Ireland who was told by a Korean recruiter, "You don't speak English."
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0:00 | Dec 10th, 2015

There are mysteries aplenty in David Bowie's song lyrics, Jennifer Tseng's story of love and Noam Chomsky's theory about language. But do we really need to solve these mysteries?
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0:00 | Dec 3rd, 2015

Cheesesteaks, Peanut Chews, Tasty Cakes, oh yeah, the Liberty Bell – there’s so much to love about Philadelphia but one of the best things about the city of Brotherly Love is the accent. This week on the podcast we learn about the Philadelphia accent...Show More
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0:00 | Nov 25th, 2015

Israeli linguist Arik Sadan is an authority on the Arabic language. Palestinian Sobhi Bahloul is Gaza's best-known Hebrew teacher. The two have never met.
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0:00 | Nov 17th, 2015

In the wake of the Paris Attack French President François Hollande was quick to denounce the alleged attackers, 'Daesh.' Many people call this same jihadist group ISIS. Alternatively they've been called ISIL and even the Islamic State. But many in t...Show More
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0:00 | Nov 16th, 2015

Many Lebanese speak a full-on mix of Arabic, French and English. Calling this linguistic melange a "mother tongue" started out as a joke, but now it's become a part of Lebanon's national identity — even if it means that sometimes people don't underst...Show More
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0:00 | Nov 10th, 2015

Adele, the Rolling Stones, Cliff Richard, Iggy Azalea, Nicki Minaj, The Killers, Snow – what do these artists all have in common? Their accent. That is, the fact that they sometimes put on an accent other than their own when they sing. This week’s...Show More
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0:00 | Nov 3rd, 2015

On a recent road trip reporter Dan Nosowitz and his girlfriend found themselves belting out the lyrics to a Blink-182 song in the highly affected style of lead singer Tom DeLonge. Singing in DeLonge’s nasal, Southern California surfer twang, is a hi...Show More
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0:00 | Oct 29th, 2015

What is it about Texas that sparks the global imagination? Persian and Turkish both have an expression that means, "This is not Texas." The Norwegian adjective, 'Texas' means out of control.
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0:00 | Oct 23rd, 2015

Pope Francis has switched the official language of Vatican doctrine from Latin to Italian. He's also democratized his meetings with bishops. So why do some conservative bishops believe that contentious reforms are being deliberately lost in translati...Show More
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0:00 | Oct 15th, 2015

Donald Trump is hardly the only political candidate to complain about immigrants not learning English. But has he ever tried to find a convenient, affordable English class?
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0:00 | Oct 9th, 2015

Memory is a mysterious thing. A few years ago my grandmother had a series of strokes and dementia set in. She's a polyglot, she speaks seven languages. But suddenly, post stroke she started speaking a mixture of Polish and Russian -- two languages t...Show More
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0:00 | Sep 30th, 2015

Yowei Shaw was born in the United States and speaks virtually no Mandarin. Her grandparents are from Taiwan and speak virtually no English. Kid talk was fine when Yowei was a kid. But now she's grown up, she's determined to have proper conversations ...Show More
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0:00 | Sep 25th, 2015

Online dictionary Wordnik wants to give a home to a million "lost" words that aren't in traditional dictionaries. But do words like "lookupable" and "budthrill" really belong in a dictionary?
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0:00 | Sep 15th, 2015

Recently, an old friend of mine had a language question she wanted me to investigate: Where does the word “hapa” come from? My friend Julie considers herself hapa. Her father is from Chile, her mom is Japanese American. And she calls herself “hap...Show More
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0:00 | Sep 9th, 2015

A lawsuit has drawn the Japanese public's attention to 'matahara,' a word coined from the English 'maternity harassment.' It refers to the practice of demoting or even laying off women when they become pregnant. It joins 'sekuhara' (sexual harassment...Show More
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0:00 | Aug 24th, 2015

Part acronym, part abbreviation, NOLA is an increasingly popular nickname for New Orleans. But does it reflect the city's cultural and linguistic heritage?
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0:00 | Aug 20th, 2015

In the early 1940s, virtually no one in the UK spoke Japanese. The British War Office tried to change that after Japan invaded British-held Malaya and Singapore. The results were mixed.
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0:00 | Jul 31st, 2015

A chance encounter in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park gives an 87-year-old survivor hope that his memory will live on after he dies. Plus, a lexicon of atomic bomb-related words.
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0:00 | Jul 22nd, 2015

New Zealander Nigel Richards recently rocked the competitive scrabbling playing world when he became the 2015 French Scrabble World Champion. The World in Words digs into the backstory of the Scrabble genius. Also in the podcast we hear from a rese...Show More
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0:00 | Jul 21st, 2015

When linguist Bert Vaux posted a corpus of words and questions on his Harvard website back in the early 2000’s, little did he know that he would spawn an international meme. The quiz was supposed to test his students’ regional American accents. Did...Show More
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0:00 | Jul 9th, 2015

There’s a new documentary out in movie theaters analyzing stereotypes surrounding the “gay voice.” I’ll talk to linguist Ron Smyth featured in the documentary about those stereotypes and how they translate to other languages. Also, linguist and wri...Show More
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0:00 | Jun 30th, 2015

This podcast we're headed down to the heart of French-speaking Louisiana. First we'll visit the French language radio station KVPI in Ville Platte, Louisiana. Since 1953 this commercial radio station has been broadcasting daily the local news in Fr...Show More
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0:00 | Jun 30th, 2015

The year is 1793 and Horatio Lord Nelson is given command of the ship Agamemnon. Wait, “is” given command? Shouldn’t it be “was” given command? 1793 is the past, right? In this podcast, Patrick Cox delves into the historical present. And The Wor...Show More
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0:00 | Jun 24th, 2015

Welsh is thriving. Or maybe it's not. While it is making a comeback in cities like Cardiff, the language is spoken much less in its traditional rural heartlands. All the same, efforts to keep Welsh alive are considered a model for other struggling la...Show More
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0:00 | Jun 22nd, 2015

Remember that Verizon commercial where some guy "tests" his cell signal in swamps and deep in the woods and in the middle of rush hour? The "can you hear me now?" guy is based on the real thing. Verizon engineers traverse the country testing signal...Show More
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0:00 | Jun 17th, 2015

So, Hollywood finally took note. Piper, the protagonist from the TV series Orange is the New Black named checked the big show, The World with Marco Werman for teaching her the meaning of the word "kibun." Except, well, we never did a story about tha...Show More
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0:00 | Jun 10th, 2015

Happy Birthday Magna Carta! The groundbreaking document turns 800-years-old this June. The "Great Charter" changed governance as we know it. But while the charter has long been revered, we really only cite a small part of the 5000 word document. S...Show More
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0:00 | Jun 3rd, 2015

The holy trinity of Icelandic identity is, according to a popular poem, land, nation and tongue. Remove one, and the others will collapse. So will the Icelandic nation survive if, as some predict, the Icelandic language eventually dies out?
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0:00 | Jun 1st, 2015

For centuries, Icelanders have looked backward to move forward with their language. When they need to come up with words for a new technologies or ideas, they dredge up archaic terms-- and try to talk the public into re-using them.
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0:00 | May 25th, 2015

Sponsored by state TV, the Star of Outlook English Competition is like a cross between the National Spelling Bee and American Idol. It claims to attract five million school-age entrants, as Chinese families chase the promise of an English-speaking li...Show More
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0:00 | May 19th, 2015

Many North Koreans try to drop their accents when they defect to the south. They must also learn the South Korean version of Korean, which eschews some traditional expressions for English loanwords. Even with a new smartphone app to guide them, it's ...Show More
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0:00 | May 8th, 2015

Alan Eyre has never been to Iran. But this State Department Persian speaker is a huge hit there, with his recitations of poetry, proverbs and policy.
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0:00 | Apr 29th, 2015

Today, 'thug' is a nasty mess of a word with racial overtones. Its origin is Hindi, and its popularizers include Mark Twain, Margaret Thatcher and Tupac Shakur.
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0:00 | Apr 16th, 2015

The English language is where diacritics go to die. Except in Minnesota, where the governor has ordered the reinstatement of two dots over the 'o' in Lindström.
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0:00 | Apr 10th, 2015

"Our American Cousin" was a British melodrama that poked fun at uncouth Americans. When it transferred to the United States, a rewritten version turned it into a farce that mocked pompous Brits.
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0:00 | Apr 2nd, 2015

Martin Luther is best known as the instigator of the Protestant Reformation, but his Bible translations used a form of conversational language that Germans had never before seen in print. It marked the beginning of modern German.
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0:00 | Mar 24th, 2015

Twelve centuries after the golden age of Chinese Tang poetry, China is celebrating a new generation of poets: punk poets, micro-blogging poets and farm girl poets. That's annoying traditionalists who worry that poetry has become a little too popular...Show More
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0:00 | Mar 18th, 2015

Utah's public schools rank dead last in the nation in per-student state spending. Yet, the state has decided that its economic future lies in foreign language education. In the words of one state official, "Monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21s...Show More
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0:00 | Feb 26th, 2015

This ancient religious language is championed by India's Hindu nationalists. The new Hindu nationalist government is promoting Sanskrit over the objections those who favor a secular, pluralist India. All of which may put off some people from learning...Show More
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0:00 | Feb 12th, 2015

In the early 1800s, native English speakers like Scotsman Hugo Reid and New Englander Abel Stearns settled in Mexican California, married Spanish speakers and took Spanish names. In letters to other local Anglophones, they peppered their English with...Show More
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0:00 | Feb 11th, 2015

Pop Up Archive is making spoken word audio searchable. It joins a similar effort by the BBC to tag and transcribe words spoken into microphones but until now not written down. Plus, Argentina’s President posts a dumb tweet about the Chinese pronounci...Show More
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0:00 | Feb 5th, 2015

We humans have been dropping 'um,' 'uh' and other expressions of hesitation into our speech for a long time— maybe for as long as we've had language. More recently, linguists are noting a shift in usage across a number of Germanic languages from 'um'...Show More
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0:00 | Jan 28th, 2015

An online photo album is casting new light on a forgotten episode in Hawaii's history, when U.S. authorities imported 1,500 Russian Siberians to work on sugar plantations. Most of the migrants never made it past the language and cultural barrier, but...Show More
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0:00 | Jan 21st, 2015

"Africans are incredible linguists," says Lori Thicke, founder of Translators Without Borders, which enlists Africans to translate everything from medication instructions to election materials into some of Africa's 1,000+ languages.
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0:00 | Jan 14th, 2015

People on the fringes of society—criminals, discriminated-against minorities, rebellious teenagers—often need to speak in code. So they create argots, or secret languages. In Turkey, the LGBT community keep their words to themselves with the help of ...Show More
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0:00 | Dec 22nd, 2014

Most Haitian kids do not speak fluent French, but that is the language of instruction in the vast majority of Haiti's schools. Recently, some schools have dropped French in favor of Creole, which is universally spoken but often disparaged.
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0:00 | Dec 19th, 2014

Turkey's president is demanding that students study the Ottoman language in schools. Is this a genuine effort to get Turks to better understand their history? Or a veiled attempt to undermine secularism and democracy?
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0:00 | Dec 12th, 2014

Students learn in English, Spanish and Nahuatl. But this charter school has had to fight off an effort by officials to close it down.
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0:00 | Dec 10th, 2014

If you live in California or eight other US states and you're fluent in more than one language, you can now get a bilingual seal on your high school diploma.
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0:00 | Dec 4th, 2014

"Mafia" pits a well-connected minority against a civilian majority. It was invented as sort of spoof of KGB thinking, but it has gone global: the Russian government uses it to train spies, and would-be entrepreneurs around the world play it to practi...Show More
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0:00 | Nov 26th, 2014

We like to know where our food comes from. We tend to know less about where the words for our favorite foods come from.
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0:00 | Nov 24th, 2014

It's cheaper to crowd-source subtitles for TV shows and movies. But are these translations accurate and concise enough for viewers?
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0:00 | Nov 20th, 2014

The web is supposed to be killing off mondegreens. But misheard lyrics are alive and well, even on the sites that try to end the confusion.
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0:00 | Nov 17th, 2014

If you've ever struggled through Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past," you have C.K. Scott Moncrieff to thank. Moncrieff's translation introduced the French novelist to the English-speaking world. What's more, Moncrieff's own life was a verit...Show More
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0:00 | Oct 29th, 2014

As the British Army departs from Afghanistan, it's taking a whole new vocabulary with it, to add to an already rich tradition of adopting foreign words and jargon. The Americans too, are adding to their lexicon of military slang.
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0:00 | Oct 27th, 2014

Reporter Aaron Schachter met Iraqi interpreter Ayub Nuri in Baghdad in 2003. Since then, they have forged a relationship based on a shared desire to bear witness.
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0:00 | Oct 22nd, 2014

We may be in the midst of a golden age of vernacular English literature. Writers like Junot Diaz and M. NourbeSe Philip are introducing readers-- and the the English language-- to thoughts and expressions from their cultural backyards.
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0:00 | Oct 14th, 2014

A conversation with Michael Wood, one of the editors of the "Dictionary of Untranslatables."
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0:00 | Oct 8th, 2014

Russian filmmakers must either avoid using profane dialogue or seek alternative ways to show their films, now that Russian 'mat' is no longer permitted in public performances
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0:00 | Oct 6th, 2014

Don't be fooled by all those Latin, French and German words, says Princeton science historian Michael Gordin. English has long since won science's language war. How that happened has more to do with history than science.
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0:00 | Oct 1st, 2014

Because the word's origins are murky, it's difficult to know just how insulting calling someone a 'coonass' used to be. For some Cajuns today, it's a badge of honor.
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0:00 | Sep 29th, 2014

Conceived at the Nuremberg trials, simultaneous interpretation is widely used at global meetings. The interpreters at the UN, EU and elsewhere are humans, not bots. And they're all about getting the nuances right in real time. Take that, Google Trans...Show More
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0:00 | Sep 23rd, 2014

Every cuisine has its own rules about what you eat, when you eat it and how you eat it, says Dan Jurafsky, author of "The Language of Food."
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0:00 | Sep 16th, 2014

In his retelling of Grimms' fairy tales Adam Gidwitz returns to the blood and gore of the original, while adding his own comments that have a distinctly contemporary flavor.
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0:00 | Sep 5th, 2014

The Big Show's Marco Werman chats with his mom, Marjolijn de Jager, about her translations of West African French literature, and to David Bellos, author of a history of translation.
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0:00 | Sep 5th, 2014

Some topics are off limits, but debate contests are part of an effort to instill independent thinking in young Chinese.
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0:00 | Sep 3rd, 2014

The Kazakh language uses the Cyrillic script, but Dutch-born linguist Allard Jongman is helping this oil-rich former Soviet state switch to the Latin Alphabet.
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0:00 | Aug 19th, 2014

Despite her better judgment, New York-based Russian writer Anya Ulinich uses the web to seek out potential mates. She finds it all but impossible to interpret the profiles of American men, and they don't understand her any better.
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0:00 | Aug 1st, 2014

Hindi and Urdu are similar when spoken, but they use different scripts. Over time, they have become cultural and religious symbols. Plus, the People's Linguistic Survey of India.
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0:00 | Jul 25th, 2014

How long does it take for a new variety of a language to evolve once somebody lands in a particular part of the world?
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0:00 | Jul 24th, 2014

Back in the 17th century there was a big move to create rules for English, based on Latin. The man behind it, poet John Dryden, thought that Shakespeare and others had turned English into an unruly mess. Had Dryden succeeded, would his academy have f...Show More
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0:00 | Jul 23rd, 2014

Shakespeare may not have invented as many words as once thought, but he turned the English language on its head. Perhaps that's the reason that both he and English have such global appeal.
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0:00 | Jul 23rd, 2014

Despite what grammar sticklers think, there was never a golden age of pure English: the language always been an unruly mishmash of other languages. Just consult the Venerable Bede, a 7th century monk who documented the beginnings of English.
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0:00 | Jul 15th, 2014

During the Cold War, you could get a job at the Pentagon or State Department job if you spoke Russian. Today you're guaranteed nothing more than the agony of grappling with Russian grammar. Still, there are signs that a few Americans are taking the p...Show More
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0:00 | Jul 7th, 2014

Researchers at the University of St. Andrews have compiled a list of 66 gestures that that they say chimpanzees use to communicate with each other.
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0:00 | Jul 4th, 2014

Native Spanish speaker Fernando Palomo does English language TV commentary for ESPN. He offers US viewers instant analysis that draws on his soccer-obsessed Latin American background.
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0:00 | Jul 2nd, 2014

The man Lady Gaga called the "mayor of Iceland" is obsessed by language: the language of professional politicians, the Icelandic language and the restrictive rules in Iceland that prevent him from officially changing his name.
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0:00 | Jun 24th, 2014

In a World Cup match in 1966, a German referee sent off an Argentine player. The player, who spoke only Spanish, says he didn't understand and refused to leave the field. Plus, Canada has its own racism controversy over the name of a sports team.
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0:00 | Jun 19th, 2014

Before it became the predominant language of Israel, Hebrew hadn't been spoken for 1,700 years. That's presenting a challenge for the editors of the Historical Dictionary of the Hebrew Language. Also, Azerbaijan's war on Russian names.
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0:00 | Jun 12th, 2014

What do 'handbags,' 'ringlets' and 'drogbacité' mean in a soccer context?
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0:00 | May 29th, 2014

Many words sound similar in English and Spanish: car, carro; fruit, fruta. But watch out: 'hospice' and 'hospicio' do not mean the same thing.
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0:00 | May 20th, 2014

From Peter the Great to Stalin, Russian leaders have issued edicts to reform the Russian language. But top-down language reform rarely works. And it may fail again now.
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0:00 | May 17th, 2014

Listen closely to the slurs being slung back and forth between pro-Russian separatists and pro-government Ukrainians, and you can hear the echoes of history.
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0:00 | May 8th, 2014

Multilingual mixologist Joaquin Simo is steeped in cocktail culture. For his concoctions, the names are borrowed from foreign languages, overheard phrases and racehorses.
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0:00 | May 5th, 2014

What's the best way to campaign for Scottish independence? Create a fictional opponent who expresses souped-up, pro-British slogans to the tune of a Lady Gaga song.
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0:00 | May 1st, 2014

British blogger Shaun Usher collects letters from and ancient and recent history. The best of the letters are now reproduced in his book, "Letters of Note."
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0:00 | Apr 29th, 2014

Author Kristie Macrakis got interested in invisible ink a few years ago while researching the Stasi, East Germany's secret police. Now she's written a history of steganography, or "hidden writing."
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0:00 | Apr 29th, 2014

When Toronto Star reporter Mitch Potter was approached by a group of angry Pro-Russian separatists in the Eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk, he thought he was going to be detained. Then he spoke French.
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0:00 | Apr 23rd, 2014

Language editor Patrick Cox can't decide between three Chinese names given to him by Chinese friends and colleagues. The first uses clever wordplay, the second adheres to fortune telling conventions, and the third looks and sounds majestic.
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0:00 | Apr 22nd, 2014

China may be experiencing a golden age of memorable English names. Millions of young Chinese are giving themselves English names of all shapes and sizes. But there’s also evidence that the trend may be peaking.
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0:00 | Apr 14th, 2014

In Russian, the word for “pregnant” can mean “burdensome.” In Chinese, “pregnant” appears to imply “happiness.” But be careful reading too much meaning into these words.
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0:00 | Apr 10th, 2014

Between them, Randy Kaplan and Zoltan Marian have collected more than two thousand autographs of heads of states, royals and popes. They share a kind of ethical code, but differ when it comes to who will they include in their collections.
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0:00 | Apr 7th, 2014

The rhetoric of apology in China today is nuanced and coded. Though some people seem genuinely contrite for their actions during the vigilante violence of the Cultural Revolution, they are careful not to blame the government.
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0:00 | Apr 1st, 2014

Are you too mildly dissatisfied with your choice of sign-off? Don't like "Best"? Find "Cheers" to British? And "XO" creepy? Help is on the way.
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0:00 | Mar 13th, 2014

Fifty years ago, kids caught speaking French in Maine schools might be punished. Today, the state is proud of its French heritage and is trying to keep Maine French alive.
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0:00 | Mar 5th, 2014

Alina Simone's Russian family and American friends aren't on the same page — not even close — when it comes to responding to this simple question.
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0:00 | Feb 25th, 2014

Colombian ballots contain only numbers, not names. So candidates have to get noticed in other ways. The favorite method: a memorable jingle.
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0:00 | Feb 15th, 2014

When a TV host criticized others for their "pretentious" pronunciations of French names, Canadians of all stripes rounded on him-- and he was forced to apologize.
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0:00 | Feb 14th, 2014

Sid Caesar, who died this week, was a master of what comedians call double talk: gibberish masquerading as a foreign language. Carl Reiner pays tribute to Caesar's mastery of double talk, while Moshe Waldoks traces it back to Caesar's multilingual up...Show More
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0:00 | Feb 8th, 2014

Sochi, the venue for the Winter Olympics, is usually anglicised as SOTCH-i (-o as in not, -tch as in catch, -i as the "y" in happy)
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0:00 | Feb 6th, 2014

German designer Otl Aicher created the pictograms for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich. His designs influenced not only future Olympic pictograms but many signs we see every day.
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0:00 | Feb 5th, 2014

Handbills, political tracts and posters are created for instant, fleeting consumption. But collecting ephemera is big business-- and in the age of the internet, it's only getting bigger.
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0:00 | Feb 4th, 2014

You'd never guess that this blonde singer performs in completely fluent Cantonese. Carinna Chamberlain, aka Chan Ming Yan, has become something of a Cantopop sensation in Hong Kong.
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0:00 | Jan 27th, 2014

Gary Shteyngart writes in English, but his memoir draws on the Russian and Yiddish of his Leningrad childhood, and the Hebrew of his schooling in New York.
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0:00 | Jan 24th, 2014

Disney has released a version of the Oscar-nominated song from "Frozen" that includes lyrics sung in 25 languages. It sounds global and inclusive but most of languages are European.
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0:00 | Jan 20th, 2014

Bruce Willis, Jim Carrey and the Simpsons are all voiced for the Latin American Spanish market by Mexican actors. But low wages and outsourcing to other countries are chipping away at Mexico's monopoly.
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0:00 | Jan 18th, 2014

The words that athletes from India, Germany and Costa Rica draw on to prepare for big games.
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0:00 | Jan 16th, 2014

Patrick and Carol talk language stories in the news, including: two new studies on infant language acquisition; why some cultures love to say sorry; and the mysterious presence across many languages of the expression, 'huh?'
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0:00 | Jan 6th, 2014

It's hard to be an entrepreneur in France these days, what with government regulation and a French attitude that failure is just bad form. So some French entrepreneurs are settling in Silicon Valley and bringing their French style with them.
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0:00 | Dec 23rd, 2013

'Selfie' is topping some word of the year lists. Its rise to fame has been so rapid that it doesn't exist in most other languages. Speakers of those languages just use the English word, and they don't have much choice about it if they want to be part...Show More
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0:00 | Dec 12th, 2013

Marco Antonio Tabin Garcia has never left Guatemala. When he was younger, he considered moving to the United States. But he decided against it and instead taught Spanish at a local school in Antigua for over 20 years. But in the past few years, he's ...Show More
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0:00 | Dec 12th, 2013

Linguist Alison Wray talks about how different cultural attitudes around the world about dementia may be key to helping us cope better with the disease at home.
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0:00 | Dec 10th, 2013

Two decades after the end of apartheid, South Africa's eleven official languages don't always sit well together. And their relationships are changing.
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0:00 | Dec 6th, 2013

Why is saying something like "The Sheik's Sixth Sheep's Sick" so darn hard to say? A psycho-linguist wants to know, so she can help people with speaking disorders.
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0:00 | Dec 5th, 2013

The last emperors of China, the Qing Dynasty, were Manchus. Their language is close to dying out in modern China, so now there's a last-ditch effort to save it, and the link it provides to China's history and traditional medicine.
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0:00 | Dec 4th, 2013

Beijing wants all Chinese citizens to speak Mandarin, but that's easier said than done.
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0:00 | Dec 3rd, 2013

Beijing has long wanted the world’s most populous country to be unified under a single language. Now, it may actually happen, thanks to increased mobility and migration.
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0:00 | Nov 27th, 2013

If you want to learn English as it's spoken, you have to practice phrases like "the guy's a total flake." That's how students learn at UCLA Extension's American Language Center, where the slang is snappy and up-to-date.
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0:00 | Nov 21st, 2013

Writer and musician Alina Simone loved the comforting anonymity of her adopted name — until she met another woman with the same name.
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0:00 | Nov 7th, 2013

A University of Pennsylvania professor tweeting as “Nein Quarterly" has attracted more than 40,000 followers with his wry observations on everything from US politics to the sexiness of the German umlaut.
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0:00 | Nov 2nd, 2013

Fans of 19th century novelist are split over the Bank of England’s choice of image for the new £10 note.
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0:00 | Oct 28th, 2013

The language of tech start-ups, innovation and business deals are deeply influenced by the many Indians who live and work in Silicon Valley.
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0:00 | Oct 25th, 2013

Japanese baseball player Koji Uehara is pitching for the Red Sox this World Series. And while Uehara may not be fluent in English, he has no problem communicating on the field without an interpreter by his side. So how does he speak with his teammate...Show More
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0:00 | Oct 24th, 2013

Anonymous street artists are putting accent marks on a New York City subway line to draw attention to the growing number of Spanish speakers in the city.
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0:00 | Oct 19th, 2013

Many athletes crave noisy crowds. So do sports TV viewers. Some people go to great, sometimes even artificial, lengths to connect crowds with athletes and viewers.
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0:00 | Oct 15th, 2013

We visit language services company Cetra, whose contract to provide interpreters at an international defense chiefs conference has been canceled.
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0:00 | Oct 10th, 2013

If you want to revive vanishing languages, don't just document them. Get people to speak them on stage-- and then videotape it.
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0:00 | Oct 4th, 2013

Governments go to extremes to keep minorities in their place. In Turkey, leaders banned several letters of the alphabet. Now that is set to change.
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0:00 | Sep 26th, 2013

You might think world leaders care a lot about the words they choose and how powerfully they deliver them. Guess again. Sometimes all that matters much less than deciding whether to speak English or not.
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0:00 | Sep 25th, 2013

Relations between the US and Iran have been so bad for so long that there may be an understandable urge to make up for lost time, and get right down to business. But that may not be best in the long run
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0:00 | Sep 18th, 2013

When Spanish-speaking actresses come to this country, they often spend a bundle on trying to lose their accents. But these days,a Latino accent can be an asset. Sara Loscos of Feet in Two Worlds has the story.
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0:00 | Sep 17th, 2013

Belgium's favorite comic book son, Tintin, gets to speak Scots in a new translation by Susan Rennie. Listen as she speaks some of the dialogue, and explains why this particular Tintin adventure got the Scots treatment.
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0:00 | Sep 6th, 2013

After a multi-lingual Google Translate test of a Winston Churchill speech, we visit Google headquarters to hear about improvements to instant web translation. Then we hear of the contrasting approach of SRI International, which developed Apple's Siri...Show More
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0:00 | Sep 4th, 2013

Nothing translates as badly as humor and the more different the foreign language the less funny the joke it seems. So how can we in the US understand Chinese humor? The World's Nina Porzucki recently went to China to figure it out.
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0:00 | Sep 2nd, 2013

Chile claimed Easter Island over a century ago. Since then, Spanish has chipped away at its Polynesian-based language called Rapa Nui. Now its fate rests in the playground as the island tries to raise a new generation of speakers.
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0:00 | Aug 30th, 2013

Irish poet Seamus Heaney passed away today. He was 74-years-old. The poet won numerous writing awards including the Nobel Prize. But another Irish poet, Paul Muldoon, says few in US understand what an extraordinary role the poet had in Irish life.
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0:00 | Aug 19th, 2013

Scholars and the OED have cited Shakespeare as the originator of more than 1600 words. While he was the first to write down many words, new research fueled by computer analysis indicates he didn't invent as many words as once thought.
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0:00 | Aug 14th, 2013

The capitals of Hungary and Romania are confused so often one Romanian candy company has taken it upon itself to educate the world about the difference. It has Romania's capital stamped into each bar.
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0:00 | Aug 8th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
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0:00 | Aug 8th, 2013

From a distance, in Los Angeles, Mexicans with indigenous roots are keeping their traditions and languages alive.
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0:00 | Aug 1st, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jul 19th, 2013

After winning Major League Baseball's home run contest this week, Cuban-born Yoenis Cespedes was interviewed by ESPN's Pedro Gomez. Gomez was blasted by many on Twitter for speaking Spanish. Host Marco Werman speaks with Gomez about the angry reactio...Show More
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0:00 | Jul 18th, 2013

Gumbo, that quintessential New Orleans dish, reveals much about the city's heritage: a little bit of Bantu, a little bit of French, and a whole lot more thrown in. Marco Werman takes us on a linguistic tour of New Orleans' food.
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0:00 | Jul 17th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jul 12th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jul 11th, 2013

Yiddish may be a language in decline, but some Yiddish words are more popular than ever. Reporter Julia Simon takes us on a tour that includes Kenya, Egypt and the Netherlands.
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0:00 | Jun 27th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jun 24th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jun 18th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jun 14th, 2013

Istanbul's Gezi Park protests have produced a new word, funny chants and songs with daringly rewritten lyrics. Even though they are being pushed out of public places, the protesters want to maintain the spirit of inventiveness and irony.
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0:00 | Jun 11th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jun 6th, 2013

If an immigration bill in the Senate becomes law, millions of people will need to learn English to become permanent US residents. That can be hard, but in California there's a program that gives immigrant janitors an opportunity to learn English at ...Show More
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0:00 | Jun 5th, 2013

Germany has done away with what is arguably the longest word in the German language, a barely pronounceable word relating to a former law on the origin of beef.
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0:00 | Jun 5th, 2013

There's a newly emboldened group in Pakistan. They're westernized, relatively elite members of society who are often referred to as "burgers." Reporter Fahad Desmukh explains from Karachi.
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0:00 | Jun 4th, 2013

Tuesday is the 24th anniversary of the brutal crackdown on protesters at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Chinese censors have banned all online mentions of the incident. And? "Big Yellow Duck." Rachel Lu of Tea Leaf Nation, explains to host Marco Werman...Show More
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0:00 | May 31st, 2013

Chinese teen Ding Jinhao etched onto a 3500 relic in Egypt and caused a global uproar but 3500 years ago he might've been applauded. Anchor, Marco Werman speaks with Egyptologist, Chloe Ragazzoli about the significance of graffiti in ancient times.
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0:00 | May 30th, 2013

English spelling is getting worse in India. But India is not the United States, where Indian-Americans clean up year after year at the National Spelling Bee
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0:00 | May 23rd, 2013

For decades, Brits have complained about American contamination of British English. More recently, the reverse has been taking place: British expressions are elbowing their way into American speech. So far, Americans don't seem to mind.
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0:00 | May 21st, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | May 9th, 2013

The Pentagon is accusing the Chinese military of cyber-spying on US businesses and government sites. Chinese hackers appear to have upgraded their skills. They are like many hackers around the world using better English.
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0:00 | Apr 10th, 2013

The Irish language used to be a symbol of Catholic nationalism. But it's gradually becoming de-politicized, morphing into just another minority language in need of saving. You can see evidence of that change in community halls in Belfast.
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0:00 | Mar 25th, 2013

A key sticking point to passing an immigration reform package in Congress will be how to handle the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US.
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0:00 | Feb 22nd, 2013

Aaron Schachter talks with KCRW film critic Matt Holzman about some of his favorite foreign language films that didn't make the cut to the Oscars this year.
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0:00 | Feb 14th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Feb 12th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Feb 9th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Feb 1st, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jan 31st, 2013

The World's Leo Hornak reports on a new Chinese translation of James Joyce's notoriously difficult novel "Finnegans Wake." The book has become a sensation in Chinese literary circles, the first print run selling out in weeks.
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0:00 | Jan 24th, 2013

Quebec's new government wants to require French exams in English schools and to ban bilingual newsletters in some municipalities. That's enraging many English speakers. So the government is supporting a province-wide tour by a pro-English musician.
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0:00 | Jan 22nd, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jan 16th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jan 11th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More
ARCHIVED: The podcast creator has made this episode no longer available for listening.

0:00 | Jan 8th, 2013

Many Mexican migrants are leaving the US and returning to Mexico. Their children often speak better English than Spanish. So back in Mexican schools, many struggle. In order to help these kids, some teachers in Mexico are now learning English.
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0:00 | Jan 7th, 2013

The World in Words is a podcast about languages and the people who speak them. What happens to the brain on bilingualism? Does it matter that so many languages are dying out? Should we fear the rise of global English? Is the United States losing its ...Show More