The World in Words

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

Arts, Culture & Media

In the former East Germany, Frank Zappa lives on as a beacon of freedom

Who was Frank Zappa? Virtuoso guitarist? Modernist composer? Smutty lyricist? Anti-censorship activist? All of the above ... and much more in the former East Germany. There, his banned records fetched small fortunes among rebellious young men who dreamed of freedom. This episode of The World in Words podcast spends 30 minutes in the company of one such man who now runs a Zappa-themed festival. We also hear from an American translator who explains Zappa's obscure lyrics to German fans, line by line.

Arts, Culture & Media

In Moldova, speaking the wrong language once had serious consequences

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 group of monolingual speakers of different languages on a deserted island? Linguist Derek Bickerton was determined to find out.

Arts, Culture & Media

Meet the last native speakers of Hawaiian

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, teaching thousands of second language learners, there still is a small group of native speakers who have never lost the language, a group of native Hawaiians from the island of Niihau.