Radiolab: Leopards, Language, and Mr. Fernyhough

This week, take a load off your eyes and just listen. One of the most influential pieces of technology to ever hit the human race is surely the radio, is it not? Radio, in all its forms, influenced our grandparents and will surely influence our great-great grandchildren. Years ago (and not too long ago, mind you) if you missed a show on the radio, you would either write to the broadcaster for a copy of the program or wait to hear it again…somehow. Today, with the invention of the internet, nearly everything is available for listening consumption at any time you deem worthy…many times in the form of podcasts.

One such podcast that has never let me down both in variety of subjects as well as entertainment value is the American show Radiolab:

Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility. -Radiolab

With a new podcast every week, Radiolab is the perfect way to escape your routine and challenge your mind for twenty minutes to an hour a week on subjects ranging from natural selection and fate, words and language, or time and gravity (as well as many other subjects!) It is to this podcast that I highly encourage a bored blogger to visit in their spare time for it not only offers you a ears a world of entertaining sound but it offers your mind a new way to take in the world.  What with all this reading, our ears certainly are ready for some stimulation!

Radiolab is a member of WNYC radio as well as a part of National Public Radio.  Radiolab is supported, in part, by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

If you have not listened to it before, here are a couple good ones to get you started:

1) Words: Imagine a world without words!
2) Wild Talk : Animals with grammar? Words in the wild.


The BEST Thing to Happen to Language Learning…Ever.



If you are on a journey to learn a new language and already speak one fluently…but have not tried Lang-8, then you are in for a revolution.  Debuting in 2007, Lang-8 took language learning to the highest, most user-friendly, international stratosphere (and that was three years ago!) …and it has never looked back.

  • The premise: Free Language Tutoring.
  • How: Users of Lang-8 (Infinite Languages) write journal entries in a foreign language. Then, other Lang-8 users who are native speakers of that language correct them.  In return, those users’ journal entries are corrected by other Lang-8 members.  What often happens is that 2 members who want to learn each others’ native language meet, and thereafter frequently correspond.  A simple way to bridge divides between nations, reduce miscommunication, and further world peace?  Its name is Lang-8. Continue reading

내 국제상의 다국어 여자 친구 Mi Internacional Políglota Polola 私の国際的で多言語の彼女 My Internacional Polyglot Girlfriend

Compared to most of my other entries, this will come off as more of an Op-Ed piece.

I speak several languages and understand several more.  On top of that, I pride myself on being able to distinguish and identify many languages almost immediately (both upon hearing them spoken or seeing them written).  It is a strange kind of pride to many, I am sure, but as strange as it is to be a single polyglot (at least that is what I strive to be) the experience becomes ever-stranger when I interact with my quite gifted—and quite adorable if I might add—polyglot girlfriend. Continue reading

Esperanto: The Phoenix of all Languages

Esperanto, a language developed in the late 1800s by an ophthalmologist in the former Russian Empire, is spoken today by roughly one-million people worldwide.  Hailed by many as the language of world peace and in fact created solely to foster harmony between nations and peoples with different language backgrounds, I find it a perfect fit into this blog–the underlying purpose of which is to connect people through language exploration.  However, Esperanto has no real home, so to speak, as there has yet to be any nation that accepts Esperanto as its official language.  You see, Esperanto has its problems (namely that the use of the Roman alphabet will undoubtedly alienate nations who use otherwise) but the existence and use of a single world language has an undeniable allure.  Unfortunately the ultimate question remains:  Will the birth of Esperanto as a means to world communication lead to the withering and eventual death of our mother tongue forever?

What is Esperanto?  What is the purpose, grammar, challenge, beauty, and future of this unique language?

“Ĝi estas lingvo tre taŭga por internacia komunikado.”
It’s a language that is particularly useful for international communication. Continue reading