In this World in Words podcast we hear just how effortless it can be to be multilingual in a certain corner of Europe. And we try to answer the question, Who owns Klingon?
Gaston Dorren grew up speaking two languages: Limburgish at home, Dutch at school. He later fell in love in German, and traveled in many Spanish-speaking countries. All the while he kept English and French in his back pocket.
Dorren writes about languages. His most recent book, "Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages," is a collection of essays on the continent's languages, large and small. It's full of obscure facts and pithy observations: "Why do the Spanish rattle on at such a furious pace?" "Modern French has a very strong attachment to its mother." "The Sorbs are afraid of their articles."
Dorren has also written about some of Europe's more recent linguistic additions: Arabic, Turkish, Amharic and others. And he sings beautifully, in Dutch and Limburgish.
00:15 Gaston pronounces his name in English, Dutch, Limburgish, German, Spanish and French.
2:00 What is Limburgish and who speaks it?
3:50 Falling in love in German.
4:50 You can't escape English.
5:30 The immigrant languages of Amsterdam.
7:00 Studying the mechanics and systems of languages.
8:35 "I love the ability of English to verb nouns." Dutch isn't so good at that.
10:37 Dutch speakers have gender confusion, about their pronouns.
13:32 Gaston sings in Limburgish.
14:40 Nina is skeptical about -ish languages.
16:00 These Klingon singers sound like KSL (Klingon as a Second Language) learners.
18:19 Arika Okrent, author of "In the Land of Invented Languages" describes her experience at a Klingon convention where she prepped for a Klingon proficiency exam.
30:30 "As Klingons do not surrender, neither do those who speak Klingon."
MUSIC HEARD IN THE PODCAST
00:00 "Dramamine" by Podington Bear
10:37 "Molasses" by Podington Bear
13:32 "’t Graas is d’r neet greuner" ("The grass is no greener there") written and sung by Gaston Dorren
15:11 Klingon song (provided by Arika Okrent)