Posted by & filed under How to learn languages with songs and the media.

  **** Press the CC button & the Settings/HD button (next to the CC button) to choose English, Bosnian/Serbo-Croatian, Ladino (Djudeo-Espanyol), Portuguese, Spanish, French or Bulgarian subtitles. Ladino is listed as “Spanish (Spain)”. Spanish subtitles are listed as “Spanish”. ****** Can a language save your life? Yes it can, even an ancient one from the 15th century. Saved by Language tells the story of Moris Albahari, a Sephardic Jew from Sarajevo (born 1930), who spoke Ladino/Judeo-Spanish, his mother tongue, to survive the Holocaust. Moris used Ladino to communicate with an Italian Colonel who helped him escape to a Partizan refuge after he ran away from the train taking Yugoslavian Jews to Nazi death camps. By speaking in Ladino to a Spanish-speaking US pilot in 1944 he was able to survive and lead the pilot, along with his American and British colleagues, to a safe Partizan airport. Directed and Produced by: Susanna Zaraysky and Bryan Kirschen Editor: Željko Svetinović Titles in other languages: “Salvado por el idioma” (Spanish) “Salvado por la lingua” (Ladino) “Salvo pela Língua” (Portuguese) “Оцелял заради езика” (Bulgarian) “Spasio ga jezik” (Bosnian) “Sauvé par la langue” (French)

"New Life" Russian translation of Orhan Pamuk's "Yeni Hayat"

Posted by & filed under Multilingual identity.

At the risk of sounding like I am crazy, I hear multilingual voices in my head. To learn native pronunciation, I first hear a native speaking in my head.   When we see things in our heads, we refer to that as seeing with the mind’s eye. How about when we hear native speakers of foreign languages in our heads? Shall we call that “in the mind’s tongue”? My accent changes and I hear native accents in my head without any deliberate effort. My mind’s tongue has a mind of its own!   Brazilian and Portuguese flags Given how I have had both European Portuguese and Brazilian influences along my journey to learning Portuguese, I have a mixed accent. When I’m in Brazil, people ask me if I have lived in Portugal or if I have Portuguese family because my vowels are more closed, like Portuguese vowels. But in Portugal, people often ask me if I’ve lived in Brazil or if I have Brazilian family because I pronounce a “d” followed by an “e” as a “zh” sound.   My accent is Brazilian with my consonant and vowel combinations and Portuguese by my vowels. When I put those together, I have a mixed… Read more »


Posted by & filed under How to learn languages with songs and the media.

There’s a big difference between a learned and a lived language. It took a carrot to make that difference abundantly clear to me. In California, I sometimes speak Portuguese in the weekly pagode group I attend, where I sing samba music. Sometimes I read news articles in Portuguese, but my regular exposure to the language is limited. Being in Portugal for six days in late 2017 and early 2018 was a welcome re-entry into the language. I even held a Portuguese-language film screening of Saved by Language (about how the Ladino language saved a Bosnian boy’s life in the Holocaust) in Lisbon that was covered by the local Portuguese press. Even though I could speak about endangered languages in Portuguese, I had a funny incident when ordering my first meal! Tired, jet lagged, and hungry, I went to eat at a local tasca restaurant in the Graça area of the Alfama neighborhood soon after arriving in Lisbon. I asked the restaurant owner which vegetables came with the grilled salmon I had ordered. The woman said cenoura (carrot). Embarrassed that I didn’t know what the word was, I asked her to show me the vegetable. She showed me a carrot, and said,… Read more »

Sostiene Pereira

Posted by & filed under Experiences.

The strange thing with the Portuguese language is I don’t remember why I wanted to learn it, yet I can speak it. The Spanish language and Italian literature and film have been major influences in my learning the Portuguese language and becoming interested in Portugal.

Posted by & filed under Benefits of multilingualism, Multilingual identity.

  One missing digit    One missing digit (not a finger!) almost kept me from going to India. En route to Chennai (Madras), I had a rude awakening at the Frankfurt airport: my passport number in my Indian e-visa was missing one number! I hadn’t noticed the missing digit when I received the email with my Indian e-visa. The airline check-in people at the San Francisco airport also hadn’t noticed the mistake. The German customs official would not let me through customs to my India-bound flight. I only had an hour to sort out my visa before the plane was going to board and I was getting stressed about how to fix my problem without being stuck in Germany or being forced to return to San Francisco. Indian e-visa logo My only option was to call the Indian e-visa company in India and ask them to change the e-visa immediately and send me an email with my new visa. I thought I would use the Indian SIM card in my international mobile phone to call the Indian e-visa company. It turns out that my Indian SIM card didn’t work outside of India. Instead of the Indian e-visa company, I called… Read more »