Just Call Me Anna

Linguists call it “shift.” The rest of us would call it “loss.” It’s what happens to the languages spoken by immigrants, and it happens fast. By the third generation, and sometimes even the second, the German or Hindi or Greek spoken in the home is gone. That’s why America, known for so many good things, is also known as the place “where languages go to die.”

But not always.

Sometimes an immigrant family bucks the trend. This is one of those stories.*

Anastasia “Anna” Kastrenakes Merkel

Anastasia “Anna” Kastrenakes Merkel

Listen on iTunes by clicking here: America the Bilingual by Steve Leveen on iTunes

Or on SoundCloud, by clicking here: Episode 3

America the Bilingual is a storytelling podcast for Americans who are learning another language, or would like to start. Subscribe on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts and hear a new episode every two weeks. (If you use Twitter, I’ll let you know about future episodes there as well.)

A big “Bravo!” to America’s language teachers. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages — their acronym ACTFL (pronounced ACT-Full) is fitting. Its Lead with Languages campaign encourages bilingualism for all.

This episode was written by me, Steve Leveen, and our producer Fernando Hernández, who also does sound design and mixing. Our editorial consultants are Maja Thomas and Mim Harrison, research assistance from Alma Flores-Perez.

Graphic Arts are created by Carlos Plaza Design Studio.

Special thanks to Rev. Dr. James Katinas for letting us record in the sound studio of the Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Thanks as well to Greek Language School Director, Dr. Stavroula Christodoulou, the teachers of the St. Demetrios Greek School, and to Anastasia Kastrenakes Merkel for sharing her recording of the Chants of the Fathers of the Holy Monastery of Gregoriou Mount Athos.

Additional music and sound in this episode

Rast’e Tou Teke by Costa and Nero — Rast’e Tou Teke, released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share alike 3.0 International License. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/


Beach Party by Kevin Macleod https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kevin_MacLeod/Global_Sampler/Beach_Party licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Changes include high pass EQ Filter.

Quasi Motion by Kevin Macleod, released under a Creative Commons Attribution License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kevin_MacLeod/Global_Sampler/Quasi_Motion

Land Legs by Andy G. Cohen, Released under a Creative Commons Attribution International License https://andyg.co/hen/

Seikilos Epitaph with the Lyre of Apollo by Lina Palera, released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International Licensehttps://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lina_Palera_Lyre_20_Project_player/An_Appreciation/01_Seikilos_Epitaph_with_the_Lyre_of_Apollo

Bathed in fine dust by Andy G. Cohen, released under a Creative Commons Attribution International License https://andyg.co/hen/https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Andy_G_Cohen/MUL__DIV_1198/Andy_G_Cohen_-_MULDIV_-_07_-_Bathed_in_Fine_Dust

Aurea Carmina — Full mix by Kevin Macleod, released under a Creative Commons Attribution License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kevin_MacLeod/Best_of_2014_1461/Aurea_Carmina

Two pics of Homecoming Queen Anastasia Kastrenakes by Buick, 1975

Homecoming Queen Anastasia Kastrenakes, 1975

Chicle Bombita by Francisco Penilla, courtesy by the author. Whose work can be found at https://soundcloud.com/francisco-penilla

Chants of the Fathers of the Holy Monestary of Gregoriou Mount Athos.

Drunk teenagers by Zabuhailo, released under a Creative Commons Attribution license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/https://freesound.org/people/Zabuhailo/sounds/195721/

Crowd sounds by Sagetyrtle https://freesound.org/people/sagetyrtle/sounds/102096/ This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

*For an engaging book on heritage languages in America, I’d recommend Language Diversity in the USA: Dispelling Common Myths and Appreciating Advantages, edited by Kim Potowski. It has a chapter on each of the top 10 most widely spoken languages in the USA. (Greek doesn’t make the list, but Tagalog does.)