April 2023

66. How Joe Keenan came to write a breakout book on learning Spanish

2023-05-16T17:02:41-04:00By |Episodes|

66. How Joe Keenan came to write a breakout book on learning Spanish Joe in Santa Elena Canyon near his home in Big Bend. "One wall of the canyon is in Mexico and the other is in the US, and that's the Rio Grande down the middle. A foot in each world," Joe says. Just exactly how can you master Spanish? As a native English speaker who became smitten with Spanish, the American journalist Joe Keenan decided that nobody else had written how to break out of beginner’s Spanish, [...]

65. How Dario Wolos Turned a Taco into Tacombi The secret sauce: a love of language, culture, and family

2023-04-26T16:11:34-04:00By |Episodes|

65. How Dario Wolos Turned a Taco into Tacombi. (The secret sauce: a love of language, culture, and family) When you wrap your appetite around a Tacombi taco, here’s what you’ll taste: Tradition Culture Family Authenticity And possibly the best taco you’ve ever had. In this episode, Tacombi founder Dario Wolos shares his journey as an entrepreneur who is building a brand that honors the food, culture, and family values of the Mexico that have been part of his life from childhood. Language as lodestar As a youngster, Dario was shaped [...]

March 2023

64. A Global Audio Storyteller: The Journey of Martina Castro

2023-03-29T07:52:32-04:00By |Episodes|

64.  A Global Audio Storyteller: The Journey of Martina Castro Maybe it was because her father was always listening to NPR. Perhaps it came from wanting to study a language she never heard in her bilingual home. Or possibly it was her lifelong love affair with opera and singing arias, “a very big part of my life,” she says. AN EAR FOR WHAT WASN’T BEING SPOKEN Whatever the reason, the Uruguayan American Martina Castro, the powerhouse behind Duolingo’s multilingual podcasts, had heard a need for something that was long missing in [...]

63. Chef Pati Jinich’s Recipe for Reaching Across Cultures

2023-03-15T10:10:58-04:00By |Episodes|

EPISODE 63. Chef Pati Jinich’s Recipe for Reaching Across Cultures Photo by Pati Jinich “Here's the thing that we all need to know. And it's life lessons. It's just like making pancakes or rice or so many things in life. “You’re not going to get it the first time around. “You’re going to have the tools, you're going to have the correct ingredients, I'm giving you the right instructions with so many tips. But regardless of all that, you need to repeat and to try it many times, and [...]

62. Writing in Two Worlds: How a Peruvian American Novelist Embraces Her Bilingualism

2023-03-01T09:06:06-05:00By |Episodes|

EPISODE 62. Writing in Two Worlds: How a Peruvian American Novelist Embraces Her Bilingualism Natalia Sylvester’s newest novel for teens, Breathe and Count Back from Ten, was a 2022 Today Show Pick, and just recently won two awards from the American Library Association. Her newest novel for adults, Everyone Knows You Go Home, won an International Latino Book Award. The audio version of Breathe…, narrated by Frankie Corzo, won an award from AudioFile magazine. “I just love her work,” Natalia says of Frankie. “It’s such an incredible process when I listen to [...]

February 2023

61. Where Children’s Books Become Bilingual

2023-02-15T07:21:36-05:00By |Episodes|

EPISODE 61. Where Children’s Books Become Bilingual Arthur Levine (L) and Antonio Gonzalez Cerna of Levine Querido Publishing recorded our conversation in Guadalajara, Mexico, when they were in town for the Guadalajara Book Fair. When Arthur Levine, a longtime American book publisher, bought the rights to publish, as he called it, a “very British” new children’s book on this side of the pond, it was not because he thought it would become as popular as, say, Harry Potter. It was because “if you limit yourself to writers from your own [...]

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 [...]

March 2022

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. [...]

November 2017

Steve Leveen’s Response in the WSJ

2019-09-06T14:17:31-04:00By |Articles|

  Ed. Note: A July 16, 2017 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal maintained that “fluency in coding is a more useful skill than French, Spanish or Russian.” Steve disagrees! Here is his letter to the editor that was published in the July 25th print edition of the Journal. The world is not headed toward one language. The fact that we see signs in English around the world doesn’t mean the Japanese or Chinese or Egyptians are abandoning their native languages. Rather, they are learning English and becoming bilingual. The U.S., on the other hand, is [...]

October 2017

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

2017-12-05T20:43:48-05:00By |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 [...]

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