Full story - June 21, 2017
Language Photo
When does a 'dialect' become a 'language'? And what does it matter? This week on the podcast we look at two places that defy traditional definitions: Scandinavia and the Balkans.
Full story - June 12, 2017
A protester holds up a sign at an anti-Trump demonstration in Washington DC.
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.
Full story - May 23, 2017
Linguist Edward Vajda with a Ket woman in her home village in Siberia, Russia.
Linguist Edward Vajda went to Siberia with a hunch. He returned with evidence linking a remote Siberian language with Navajo and other Athabaskan languages.
Full story - May 09, 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 group of monolingual speakers of different languages on a deserted island? Linguist Derek Bickerton was determined to find out.
Full story - April 27, 2017
A protest in Sacramento, California.
California's world history textbooks have been updated with language that is dividing the state's Indian Americans.
Full story - April 07, 2017
Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels have become global hits. They are rife with love and sex and the mob — and commentary about language. This week on the podcast we explore Italy's linguistic history and the tensions between Italian dialects and the lingua franca.
Full story - March 28, 2017
Screenshot from a parody video made by Christian singer Micah Tyler.
Linguists call Christianese an emerging religiolect, spoken mainly by evangelical protestants. Christians themselves are divided on whether it's helpful to use such coded language.
Full story - March 15, 2017
Elsie Solomon, Gladys Kattan and Lisette Shashoua at Lisette's home in Montreal.
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, novelist Louie Cronin on satirizing linguistics.
Full story - February 28, 2017
Dancer Link Berthomieux says that when French people use the English word ‘black,’  “It’s a trendy way to say ‘noir.’”
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 color-blind while the American one recognizes race at every turn.
Full story - February 13, 2017
Iraqi fiction writer Anoud recently moved to New York.
The satirical fiction of Mosul-born Anoud targets ISIS, the international community and even refugees.