October 2017

14. The Vanishing High School Year Abroad

By |2017-12-11T16:12:51-04:00October 12th, 2017|Episodes|

The Vanishing High School Year Abroad In his junior year of high school in 1970, Doug Renfield-Miller was flunking out. It didn’t help to also get ejected from school for passing out anti-war posters. To escape, Doug took his mother’s suggestion and applied for a year of study abroad. Hear the story of how a young man was changed by the full measure of a school year away, and of a kind of immersion that is fading from the American tableau.   “I was an indifferent student.” Doug Renfield-Miller Listen on iTunes by clicking here: [...]

13. Hurricane Irma: a Dispatch from Delray Beach and an Invitation

By |2017-12-05T20:43:48-04:00October 12th, 2017|Episodes|

Hurricane Irma: a Dispatch from Delray Beach and an Invitation We were halfway into the production of episode 13 but then Hurricane Irma happened. However, our host Steve Leveen still was able to call and give us an overview of the situation in Delray Beach, Florida. We’ll be back with a new episode in two weeks, but in the meantime, we are re-broadcasting “Little Ketchup Girl”. Here’s the description for said episode: How hard can it be to go up to the counter at McDonald’s and ask for ketchup? The answer might depend on how confident [...]

12. Eastern Star: The Nick Staffa Story

By |2017-12-11T15:57:41-04:00October 12th, 2017|Episodes|

Eastern Star: The Nick Staffa Story Nick Staffa was meant to become a rock star — but the kind who works on a somewhat smaller stage. This kid from Long Island of Italian heritage, would become a rock-star language teacher with a reputation that would spread well beyond the United States. His story has elements of a fairy tale, except that the ending isn’t exactly what we might have expected. Nick Staffa with (L-R) Professor Zeng and Professor Agnes He, at SUNY Stony Brook Listen on iTunes by clicking here: America the Bilingual by Steve Leveen on iTunes [...]

11. The Power of Language Exchange

By |2017-12-05T20:33:09-04:00October 12th, 2017|Episodes|

The Power of Language Exchange With millions of Latinos wanting to improve their English and millions of Anglos wanting to improve their Spanish, you’d think there would be lots of programs in America for them to help one another. There aren’t. I’ve looked. That’s why I was thrilled when my friend alerted me to a fellow in Denver who had started one. When I got James Archer on the phone, I learned he wasn’t a language teacher. In fact, he wasn’t a teacher of any kind. Instead he was a “semi-retired” software entrepreneur. But he was something [...]

August 2017

10. The Joy of Spanish

By |2018-05-21T12:47:17-04:00August 21st, 2017|Episodes|

The Joy of Speaking Spanish Twenty-five percent of American Latinos don’t speak Spanish, because they can’t. The erosion of Spanish and other heritage languages will continue to be make it challenging for the United States to build its international language capital (see Episode 9). On the positive side, an estimated 2.8 million non-Latinos speak Spanish. I aim to be one of them. Martha Gonzalez, Age 16, Grandmother of Mario Bravo For almost 10 years I’ve been studying the language, and while my progress has been embarrassingly slow, I am falling ever more deeply in love [...]

July 2017

9. Ed de La Torre Doesn’t Speak Spanish

By |2017-12-05T19:59:57-04:00July 31st, 2017|Episodes|

Ed de La Torre Doesn't Speak Spanish “Wow, it’s a good thing you’re studying Spanish,” a fellow told me the other day “because Spanish is taking over the country!” It’s easy to see why it seems so. We see Spanish signs when we shop at Walmart and Home Depot, and on our cocktail napkins on JetBlue. When we phone Bank of America we hear “marque dos para español.” But here’s a fact you don’t hear talked about much: 25 percent of American Latinos don’t speak Spanish — because they can’t. While today’s immigrants are sometimes accused [...]

8. American Outliers

By |2017-12-05T19:42:22-04:00July 5th, 2017|Episodes|

American Outliers America has been called the place where languages go to die. But not always. In episode 8 of America the Bilingual we hear the story of two American immigrants and their intrepid sons. What the sons did leaps out when set against the landscape of the more usual American study-abroad experience. Listen on iTunes by clicking here: America the Bilingual by Steve Leveen on iTunes Download past episodes or subscribe to future episodes of America the Bilingual by Steve Leveen for free Listen to this SoundCloud episode below:  America the Bilingual by Steve [...]

June 2017

7. The Bella and the Bold

By |2017-12-05T19:25:23-04:00June 21st, 2017|Episodes|

The Bella and the Bold Bettina Young had a remarkable young life — a fairy tale life by the standard of so many American girls who dream of becoming ballet dancers and models. But the path to living happily-ever-after took some sharp turns. The constant, through thick and thin, was this young American’s boldness. Bettina’s story left me wondering whether living bilingually and living boldly have a natural relationship. Bettina Michele at nine years old Listen on iTunes by clicking here: America the Bilingual by Steve Leveen on iTunes Download past episodes or subscribe to [...]

6. Little Ketchup Girl

By |2017-12-05T19:15:37-04:00June 6th, 2017|Episodes|

Little Ketchup Girl How hard can it be to go up to the counter at McDonald’s and ask for ketchup? The answer might depend on how confident you are in English. Michelle Bazargan was a little girl when bombs began exploding outside her home in Tehran. It was then that her mother decided it was too dangerous to remain. Thus begins the story of one Iranian family and their challenges of becoming American. Sometimes trauma can leave people irreversibly damaged. Other times trauma can leave people irreversibly dedicated to helping others. Listen to episode 6 of [...]

May 2017

5. The CEO and the Polyglot

By |2017-12-05T19:24:20-04:00May 26th, 2017|Episodes|

The CEO and the Polyglot Does the whole world speak English? It seems so when you travel to big cities and stay in major hotels. It seems so when you visit popular tourist destinations. But what about in corporate conference rooms? Like when you’re trying to sell something? That, as you’ll hear in this episode, can be a different story. Lois Melbourne Lois Melbourne studied French in school but didn’t get all that far. In other words, she is a typical monolingual American. But Lois is not typical in other ways. Andrew Simmons is [...]

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