February 2023

60. Crossing the Borderlands

2023-02-01T14:04:08-05:00By |Episodes|

Episode 60. Crossing the Borderlands of America's Immigration Brenda Piñero “I do consider Puerto Rico a borderland of the United States,” says Brenda Piñero of her homeland. Brenda left the island—an American territory rather than a state—after getting her law degree at the University of Puerto Rico. But she could not stay away from borderlands. She’s now an attorney who is part of a pro bono asylum representation project based in Harlingen, Texas. The border with Mexico is a scant 28 miles away. Brenda works [...]

January 2023

59: From Fast-Food Worker to Renowned Film Critic: Carlos Aguilar and Why DACA Is Important

2023-02-02T14:16:33-05:00By |Episodes|

EPISODE 59: From Fast-Food Worker to Renowned Film Critic: Carlos Aguilar and Why DACA Is Important “My dad died in 2018 and I wasn’t able to go to his funeral. It was too much of a risk.” For the film critic Carlos Aguilar to have left his home in the US to attend his father’s funeral in Mexico would have put his re-entry into the United States in jeopardy. A native of Mexico City who has lived and worked in the US since he was young, Carlos is part of the immigration [...]

58: Reclaiming the Language That History Wanted Lost

2023-02-02T14:16:16-05:00By |Episodes|

EPISODE 58: Reclaiming the Language That History Wanted Lost At Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Newton, MA, Priscilla reads to youngsters from her children’s book, A Twisty Vine. For many young readers, it offers their first taste of Taíno, with words and phrases popping up on the pages. Imagine being told you don’t exist. And not just you, but everyone like you. All you have to do is read some earlier accounts of the history of America. Or even later ones that drew from these histories. What you’re told [...]

December 2022

57. How the New York Mets Turned a Green Beret into a Polyglot

2023-02-02T14:16:01-05:00By |Episodes|

EPISODE 57: How the New York Mets Turned a Green Beret into a Polyglot A benefit of bilingualism you may not have considered: how useful it can be when dropping into countries—literally—to engage in a US Army Special Forces mission. That’s just one of the never-thought-of-that-before ways that Jack Clarke, a retired Army colonel who’s now a professor of national security studies, has used the several languages he speaks. In Steve’s conversation with him, Jack reveals how global languages have always been essential to the US military—often, in ways many of [...]

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 [...]

August 2021

55. Language learning: why tax your brain when there’s technology?

2021-08-11T10:42:35-04:00By |Episodes|

55. Language learning: why tax your brain when there's technology? This is our second of two episodes on what technology can and can’t do for language learning…and perhaps more important, what technology should and shouldn’t do. Listen as Steve shares the week he spent in Silicon Valley attending the futuristic technology incubator called Singularity University. He had a chance to ask the high priest of language technology, Ray Kurzweil (pictured above), how he sees the role of high tech in language learning. Ray’s answer might surprise you. You’ll be listening to [...]

July 2021

54. To App or Not to App: That Is the Language Learner’s Question

2022-04-27T11:13:56-04:00By |Episodes|

54. To App or Not to App: That Is the Language Learner’s Question Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on using technology for learning a language. That includes the many bilinguals Steve interviewed for Episode 54 of the America the Bilingual podcast. It’s a brief meditation on the merits—and demerits—of language technology. How much should we depend on language technology to talk for us? What are technology’s limitations? Or is it just we humans who are limited in our thinking of what technology can do? The role that technology plays in [...]

53. America is too big for bilingualism. Fact or fiction?

2021-07-13T16:43:50-04:00By |Episodes|

53. America is too big for bilingualism. Fact or fiction? Map image from Wikimedia Commons. From sea to shining sea, English is spoken throughout all 3.8 million square miles of the US. Does it make sense to speak anything else? To answer this question, in Episode 53, Steve takes you on a tour that starts in Little Rock and ends in Montreal, by way of Casablanca and Mali. Enjoy this seventh free audiobook chapter of America’s Bilingual Century by Steve Leveen. You’re listening to Chapter 37, narrated by Sean [...]

June 2021

52. True or false? The best way to learn a language is total immersion.

2021-06-23T09:05:34-04:00By |Episodes|

52. True or false? The best way to learn a language is total immersion Want to learn Japanese? Go to Japan. Portuguese? Portugal or Brazil. Hindi? India. Immersion is absolutely the best way to learn another language…or is it? In Episode 52, Steve weighs in, and his answer might surprise you. Enjoy this sixth free audiobook chapter of America’s Bilingual Century by Steve Leveen. You’re listening to Chapter 36, narrated by Sean Pratt. HEAR THE STORY Listen on iTunes by clicking here: America the Bilingual by Steve Leveen on iTunes. [...]

51. What they don’t teach you in Harvard’s Spanish classes

2021-06-09T10:54:09-04:00By |Episodes|

51. What they don't teach you in Harvard's Spanish classes Once upon a cold and snowy Harvard winter, when Steve went to Spanish class. A middle-aged guy named Steve walks into an intermediate-Spanish class for Harvard undergrads, and does a quick assessment of their advantages versus his. Theirs: They’re smarter. They take tests really well. They’ve had more Spanish. They can hear perfectly fine. They’re highly motivated to get good grades. They seem to relish the mental struggle. Steve’s: He shows up on time. And it [...]

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