The World in Words
By PRI's The World
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From PRI's The World, The World in Words with Patrick Cox focuses on language. We decode diplospeak and lay bare nationalist rants. And as English extends its global reach, we track the blowback from the world's 6,000+ other languages, in the form of hybrids like Chinglish, Hinglish, Singlish and Binglish. Binglish? Visit the full archive at pri.org!
||Minnesota's Umlautgate||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.||4/16/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||The play Lincoln was watching||"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.||4/10/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||The father of German||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.||4/2/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||The golden age of Chinese poetry is...now||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 and a||3/24/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Utah's language gamble||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 21st cen||3/18/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Studying Sanskrit||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 Sans||2/26/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Spanglish is older than we may think||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 Span||2/12/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||A spoken word archive with benefits||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 pronouncing||2/11/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||'Uh' beats 'um' in several languages||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' to||2/5/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||The Siberians of Hawaii||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 the||1/28/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Translators Without Borders||"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.||1/21/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Secret languages||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 a||1/14/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Haiti's new Creole schools||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.||12/22/2014||Free||View In iTunes|
||Ottoman Turkish nostalgia||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?||12/19/2014||Free||View In iTunes|
||An indigenous language school in LA fights to stay open||Students learn in English, Spanish and Nahuatl. But this charter school has had to fight off an effort by officials to close it down.||12/12/2014||Free||View In iTunes|
||A bilingual seal of approval for high school graduates||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.||12/10/2014||Free||View In iTunes|
||A Soviet-era storytelling game trains you to bluff, lie and sometimes tell the truth||"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 practice th||12/4/2014||Free||View In iTunes|
||How to eat your words||We like to know where our food comes from. We tend to know less about where the words for our favorite foods come from.||11/26/2014||Free||View In iTunes|
||Do we still need professional translators to subtitle foreign language movies?||It's cheaper to crowd-source subtitles for TV shows and movies. But are these translations accurate and concise enough for viewers?||11/24/2014||Free||View In iTunes|
||Misheard song lyrics in the age of the Internet||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.||11/20/2014||Free||View In iTunes|
Highly, highly recommend to anyone
Love this one. It always leaves me with a sense of awe and a feeling of admiration with humanity and all its little cultural quirks. I have a horrid addiction to listening/reading (no longer watching, thank God) the news, and this podcast is the perfect antidote to the overwhelmed/bitter aftertaste left from that. The podcast's host is perfect and I wish he hosted more podcasts, since most tend to talk in a disinterested and humorless way, as though the subject matter bears no relevence to them. This podcast gives the listener a delight for the knowledge gained, like your favorite high school history teacher. Seriously, give it a listen.
A fascinating and enlightening podcast!
As a polyglot and educator, I enjoy "The World in Words" podcast. It is endlessly fascinating, well produced and, dare I say, educational. I'm glad I ran across this podcast by accident; there have been several stories I've used in my classroom to the benefit of my students. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Bravo, Mr. Cox
Simply incredible. The dazzling array of languages and the evolution of the spoken word discussed is enthralling and captivating. A logophile's dream, "The World in Words" encapsulates the spirit of the nature of language as a whole, delving deep into English, foreign languages, and newly invented languages, to probe and dissect idioms, ultimately showcasing the unity AND diversity of our changing world at large. Bravo!
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- Category: Society & Culture
- Language: English
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