Do you talk with your hands? Have you ever wondered why? This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Susan Goldin-Meadow about how gestures play a role in our language. We’ll talk with her about why some gestures are the same from culture to culture and why some vary so much. Meadows also talks with her about how gestures play a role in learning language. According to Goldin-Meadow, deaf children with hearing parents will develop their own gesturing system to communicate, and many children’s signs are the same even though they’ve never met.
The dog days of summer are here…especially judging by last week’s 90 degree weather. But wait, “dog days?” Does anybody really know what that means and where the expression came from? This hour on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with Patricia O’Conner, language blogger, and author of several books about grammar including “Woe is I” and “Words Fail Me” about some of the history behind the words and expressions we use during summer. Whether you’ve been stressing about wearing or shopping for that new bikini, we’ll find out why we call them bikinis in the first place and will also talk about where the English language gets words like “pool,” “sunburn” and “vacation.”
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics the demand for translators will increase by 20 percent by 2020, but here in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Employment Security estimates that need will be even greater. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Terena Bell. She’s worked as an interpreter and now owns “In Every Language,” a company based in Louisville, Kentucky that provides translation and localization services and is also secretary for the Globalization and Localization Association, an international translation trade organization. Professor Elizabeth Lowe also joins us. She’s director of the Center for Translations Studies at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign which recently announced it will offer a new master’s program next fall.
Next week on Focus, we’ll talk about the magic of summer camp, the growing need for translators and why some are pushing for comics in schools.
Christine Ammer is the author of more than a dozen reference books including “The Facts on File Dictionary of Cliches,” “Fruitcakes and Couch Potatoes and Other Delicious Expressions” and her latest, “The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms.” This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Ammer about the origins of our favorite phrases and about what an idiom really is.
We also want to hear from you this hour! What expressions roll off your tongue? Do you have a favorite one that’s of note? Maybe you have a question about the origins of something you say… Give us a call, post in the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter @Focus580.
Coming up next week on Focus, we'll talk with one of the most well-respected researchers studying terrorism, an authority on idioms in the English language and with journalist Fred Kroner about his new book "A Saucer Coming to Rest, A Half Century of Assembly Hall." Find our more about what's coming up.
An elementary school in Urbana is piloting a dual language program teaching kindergarten classes almost entirely in Spanish.
Dennis Baron will join us for a conversation about language. He is a professor of English at the University of Illinois, and we'll talk about the way that the English language continues to change in spite of its resistance to deliberate reform. You are invited to call with questions about grammar, and of course, complaints about misuse of the language are always welcome.
Geoffrey Nunberg, Linguist and professor at University of California at Berkeley’s School of Information.
Host: Craig Cohen
Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg has been commenting on language, usage, and society for NPR's Fresh Air since 1988, and his commentaries on language appear frequently in the New York Times and other publications. The emeritus chair of the American Heritage Dictionary usage panel, his latest book is Ascent of the A-Word. Nunberg has also taught at Stanford University and served as a principal scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center from the mid-1980s to 2000.
Michael Erard, Ph.D., Senior Reseacher, The Frameworks Institute
Host: David Inge
Almost everyone learns at least one language as a child. Some may learn two or three. But through history there have been accounts of “super learners.” For example, Giuseppe Mezzofanti, a 19th century Italian priest, was said to speak 72 languages. Could such a feat have been possible? Is there someone alive today who could match it? Michael Erard tells the story of his search for the world’s most extraordinary language learners, the subject of his book "Babel No More."
This is a repeat broadcast from Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 11 am