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So far daruma has created 43 blog entries.

November 2022

56. For a Star of Classical Piano, Languages Hold the Key

2023-02-02T14:15:33-05:00By |Episodes|

56. For a Star of Classical Piano, Languages Hold the Key Andrew von Oyen is one of the only Americans in his field who brings bilingualism to the concert stage. “You never dreamed, did you, that a piano could be made to express all that?” That’s Marcel Proust, the early 20th-century French writer who penned In Search of Lost Time. How was he able to time-travel into the future and know how perfectly those words would describe the work of the classical pianist Andrew von Oeyen? Despite the Old [...]

March 2022

Welcoming Immigrants Through Workplace English

2023-03-07T17:40:19-05:00By |Articles|

Mary Cardenas and Steve Leveen are huddled—as much as one can huddle on Zoom—over the short questionnaire that Mary wants to prepare for her small business. A trained chef, she plans to prepare and deliver healthy meals to people in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives. Steve, the cofounder and former CEO of a national retail venture, is giving her pointers. “Right now the form says Mary’s Kitchen,” Steve tells her. “I thought it was going to be Mary’s Healthy Kitchen. That’s distinctive.” Mary quickly agrees. After all, she’s  been able to lower her [...]

Six More Spanish Words English Should Adopt

2023-03-10T10:35:43-05:00By |Articles|

English is already well seasoned with Spanish. Not just place names like Colorado and Florida, and not just food words like tacos and enchiladas, but also nouns so firmly established in English that we need no synonyms—nouns like canyon, silo, plaza and rodeo. Yet we could use some more—specifically, six more Spanish words that may serve to strengthen family ties, and for which no English equivalents exist. There’s a name for us I encountered the first of these family-member words from author Joseph Keenan in his book, Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish, which I recently discovered. [...]

In Every Taíno Headdress, a Story

2023-03-07T16:34:59-05:00By |Articles|

To a casual observer, the headdresses that Priscilla Colón and her husband, Ely, are wearing are in this photo are simply colorful and eye-catching. But what the cofounders of Casa Areyto have on their heads are, in many ways, their personal profiles as Taíno. If you’ve listened to Episode 58 of our podcast, you’ll appreciate just how remarkable this is, given the Taíno’s precarious history as Native Americans in the Caribbean after 1492. The Taíno people were long considered lost, together with their language—but never by Priscilla, whose own tested DNA proves otherwise. She is among [...]

Learning More than a Language: Learning Respect for a Culture, Too

2023-03-07T13:11:04-05:00By |Articles|

“That’s so weird.” That was the reaction of a five-year-old boy in Brunswick, Maine, when Margaret Boyle, an associate professor of Romance languages at nearby Bowdoin College, was reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to a group of kindergarteners. It wasn’t the caterpillar’s feasting on junk food that perplexed the little boy; it was the fact that Margaret was reading the Eric Carle classic in Spanish. The youngster’s pronouncement took her by surprise. “Growing up in Los Angeles in a Mexican-American family, being close to Hispanic cultures was normal for me,” says Margaret, who is also Bowdoin’s director [...]

May 2021

“Talking Leaves” The Cherokee Syllabary of Sequoyah

2023-11-16T10:42:30-05:00By |Articles|

Editor’s note: Be sure to listen to our podcast on saving the Cherokee language—Episode 30 of America the Bilingual, “A New Generation of Cherokee Speakers Rises.” When is an alphabet not an alphabet? When it is the syllabary of the Cherokee language. A Cherokee named Sequoyah invented it in 1821. He had seen non-Native soldiers reading from what he called “talking leaves”—words on paper—and was determined to find a way for the Cherokee to do the same. Sequoyah (ca. 1776 – ca. 1843) was used to making tools for his work as both a blacksmith and [...]

Where Culture Is a Window into Languages

2022-12-29T17:16:28-05:00By |Articles|

Inside a classroom at Lynn University in the southeast Florida city of Boca Raton, a lively discussion about world religions is under way. The conversation among the students and their teacher is framed around what the university calls Dialogues. The core curriculum of this small liberal-arts university, Dialogues are the signature learning method for classes at Lynn. The focus is on seminar-style courses where both students and professors participate in the learning process. And they engage in cross-disciplinary conversations that take students beyond the borders of the US and into the global community. The structure of [...]

Becoming Visible with Workplace English

2022-10-18T15:58:46-04:00By |Articles|

In California’s affluent Silicon Valley, there are thousands of residents whom Dr. Guadalupe Valdés describes as “the invisible people.” They are the gardeners, the cleaners, the cooks: the cadre of tradespeople who are nowhere near affluent. They are the Latinx immigrants, primarily from Latin America, working in low-wage jobs. Although they brought little from their countries, their low income and diminished class status traveled with them. But so did their aspirations. The major hurdle many of them face is not being equipped with the English they need in their workplaces. Guadalupe’s English Together program is changing [...]

June 2019

44. Africa’s Relaxed Multilingualism

2019-09-06T12:48:14-04:00By |Episodes|

44. Africa's Relaxed Multilingualism In the west African country of Cameroon, it’s not unusual for youngsters playing a neighborhood game of soccer to encounter different languages among their friends. And throughout Africa, it’s not uncommon for people to speak three languages—even if they don’t write or read all three. How do they do it? And what can the United States learn from this continent of polyglots? For Episode 44 of the America the Bilingual podcast, Steve talked with three African educators he met at the 2018 ACTFL conference. All these gentlemen are teaching [...]

May 2019

43. Buds of Bilingualism

2019-09-06T12:48:14-04:00By |Episodes|

43. Buds of Bilingualism None of us can master every language, but we can all learn phrases that extend a symbolic hand in greeting and say, “To show I respect you, and therefore your language, I’ll try to speak a few words of it.” No matter how poor the result linguistically, you’ve often made a friend. And thus, a bud of bilingualism blooms. Like the buds of flowers, it holds the promise of something wonderful. In Episode 43 of the America the Bilingual podcast, we’ll hear how some native English-speaking Americans practice buds [...]

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