The World in Words podcast is about language — everything from bilingual education to the globalization of English to Icelandic insults. Hosted by The World's Patrick Cox. Subscribe to the podcast: RSS| iTunes
Some people believe technology will render Braille obsolete and that blind people will choose talking apps and audiobooks over embossed dots. But Braille has been written off many times before and each time, it has come back stronger.
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: "rabona," "panenka," "gegenpress."
This week on the podcast we talk about Basque. How did this language survive the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco when speaking and writing and reading were illegal? With more than six dialects, how did Basque develop a language standard? And how has this minority language thrived and even grown in the years since Francisco Franco’s dictatorship ended?
Ever wondered about people who can improvise on stage? Neuroscientist Charles Limb and comedian Anthony Veneziale did. First came the bromance, then Veneziale found himself improvising inside an fMRI machine.
Karolina lives in Boston but grew up in several countries and speaks a bunch of languages. Her English is perfect but she doesn’t feel completely at home in it, or in American culture. Welcome to the world of third culture kids, a fast-growing group of people who fit in everywhere and nowhere.
In 2012, Sweden erupted in a national debate over the pronoun "hen." Traditionally, Swedish has gendered pronouns when referring to people. There is no gender-neutral pronoun for people. "Hen" was a new word meant to fill a gap in the language. This week on The World in Words podcast we explore how a little-known and little-used word went mainstream in Sweden.