BONUS: Dalriada Gaelic - Back From The Brink
Bonus Language Stories?! Yup. Woohoo! This episode, I chat with Àdhamh Ó Broin who is working to bring Dalriada Gaelic, an endangered dialect of Scottish Gaelic, back from the brink. Why Dalriada Gaelic? When I first reached out asking for suggestions of language stories to cover in future episodes, my friend Maureen Millward (who you may know from her blog, language events or helping me with 9 Reasons to Learn Scottish Gaelic) told me about Àdhamh Ó Broin and what he's done with...
Episode 12: Guaraní in the Heart of South America
Guaraní is an indigenous language that defies all odds to exist today as it does alongside Spanish in Paraguay. But what odds? How does it thrive in the modern world? In this episode of Language Stories, we're exploring the story of Guaraní in Paraguay. Why Guaraní? My Guaraní story started more than a year ago. When I knew we’d be taking this trip that turned into season one of Language Stories, I knew I wanted to use it as an excuse to learn a new language. But The Americas? Surely...
Episode 11: Nicaraguan Sign Language
Every language has a unique story, but Nicaraguan Sign Language is pretty special. A language emerging in the 80s amidst a revolution? In this episode of Language Stories, we're exploring the story of Nicaraguan Sign Language. Why Nicaraguan Sign Language? There's more than one Sign Language in the world - 137 in fact, according to Ethnologue, with some other estimates of up to 300. They all have a unique story, just like any other language. However, what makes Nicaraguan Sign Language...
Episode 10: The Panama Canal
Welcome back to Season 1 of Language Stories. This time we're at the Panama Canal. Why the Panama Canal? Trade routes have always played an important role in language development. I find it fascinating how language can form from these real life short, repetitive exchanges. So, of course, when visiting the Panama Canal, my mind wasn't thinking "I wonder what type of steel they used for that bit...", more like "Shh...I want to hear what language that tugboat operator is speaking to the...
Episode 9: Keeping K'iche
Welcome back to Season 1 of Language Stories. This time it's all about K'iche. Why K'iche? There's many languages I didn't know much about before we started Language Stories, K'iche wasn't one of them. K'iche was one I knew essentially nothing about. I first heard of the language when Dave Prine (who you'll hear from in this episode) presented about it at the Polyglot Gathering in 2017. I knew so little that I assumed "K'iche" was the Quechua word for "Quechua", which is very much not the...
Episode 8: All About You
Welcome back to Season 1 of Language Stories. This time things are all about you. Why "you"? As we've been travelling through Latin America and heading into a new Spanish-speaking country every few weeks, I've realised something. Something really simple. Something really important. Something I don't really know how to do. I arrive in a new Spanish-speaking country and don't know how to address YOU. You in Spanish isn't always easy, and that's why we're dedicating the podcast of this...
Episode 7: Unbelizable!
Welcome back to Season 1 of Language Stories. We're back for the second half of this season and this time, we're speaking English...and a few more languages in Belize. Why Belize? I was really excited to visit Belize. After my time in Costa Rica a decade before, Central America had always had a draw for me as a really accessible region in terms of geography and language. Yet, despite the rest of the region speaking Spanish primarily, Belize officially speaks English. Of course, this is...
Episode 5: Maya Isn't Dead
What happens when history tells us a civilisation has vanished? Disappeared. Gone. Kapoof. Naturally, we assume that the languages spoken by those civilisations is gone too, right? That all citizens and descendants took them to the grave, leaving only some etchings at ruins of once great cities, which leaves lots of work for people who like deciphering stuff to decipher the pieces of the language spoken by these people. And of course, the juicy gory details of history are the ones we hear...
Episode 4: Star Wars: A Language Story
Welcome to episode 4 of Language Stories. This time we’re in Tikal, Guatemala and we’re talking all things...Star Wars. In particular the languages of Star Wars. Why Star Wars languages? Because the new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, is out today of course! It seemed like a great chance to take a look at a bit of an anomaly in the constructed fictional languages world. And besides, it’s Hollywood, right? So it still fits with the series topic of The Americas. Ha! Why Tikal? Because I’m...
Episode 3: Montreal: Beyond Bilingual
Welcome to episode three of Language Stories! This time we visit Montreal, a city that goes beyond the bilingual expectations you might have. Why Montreal? When I was studying for my French A level, my French was going through a bit of an identity crisis. My Spanish was set. I just found it more endearing, more interesting, and more exotic and new. Whereas French? Well, French had been part of my life for much longer, and I’d been to France lots of times. It no longer excited me in the...
Episode 2: Chinatown in Havana
It's always nice to have a little familiarity when you're travelling somewhere new. Something you can rely on to give you that creature comfort. Sometimes, weirdly perhaps, Chinatowns are that thing. But not so much the Chinatown in Havana, Cuba. This is episode two of Language Stories. Why Cuba? As we were planning our trip back home in the UK, I spent some time browsing Skyscanner and dreaming about all the places we could head next after our time in Quebec, Canada. There were lots of...