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

The film, Saved by Language about how Moris Albahari saved his life in World War II in Bosnia by using the Ladino language is now available to the public! You can rent it for $7 to watch online as many times as you like in a three-day period or you can buy the DVD for $25 and watch it whenever you want. You can order the DVD in either the PAL or NTSC format.

Both the DVD and the online rental have subtitles in English, Ladino, Spanish, Portuguese and Bosnian/Serbo-Croatian.

The Interpreter

Posted by & filed under Articles about me, Multilingual identity.

Just because somebody speaks two languages, he/she is not a natural, automatic interpreter and translator. A multilingual person can’t translate anything anybody wants, and can’t do simultaneous interpretation. I have received many requests and demands to translate and interpret on the spot from monolingual people and from multilinguals who aren’t used to being in situations where they have to interpret or translate.

The idea that just because somebody is bilingual that they should make a career as a translator and an interpreter or do it for friends and family as favors is absolutely faulty.

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

Over two years ago, I wrote about the idea of a language as a homeland as I was starting my journey into the endangered language of Ladino/Judeo-Spanish. The Portuguese writer, Fernando Pessoa, is quoted as having said, “Minha patria é a língua portuguesa” (My homeland is the Portuguese language). The Portuguese language is the homeland to millions of people outside of Portugal.     On my recent trip to Portugal, I was constantly reminded of how far the Portuguese language went beyond Portugal and Brazil. As I was eating my chicken in a restaurant, I heard an African couple at the nearby table speaking in Portuguese and some other language. As they were leaving, I asked them which language they were speaking and they told me it was a Creole language from Guinea-Bissau. A Creole is a mix of the local language(s) and the colonizer’s language, which in this case is Portuguese. Haitian Creole is a mix of French with a native Haitian language. In the US, the only native Portuguese speakers I had ever met were either from Portugal, Brazil or Cape Verde. So this was my first time meeting people from mainland Africa who spoke Portuguese. I have… Read more »