Gellert bath house

Learning Hungarian via Italian opera, neo-Nazis and a phone sex line

Living in Budapest, Magyarország (Hungary) made me think in different ways in order to express myself in Hungarian, see the modern incarnations of a dark chapter of European history and hatred and fend off...

Don’t fault innovative musicians!

Instead of criticizing people who are risk takers, we should be applauding their efforts because if we don’t innovate, these languages are going to die.
Lenin in Kyrgyz kindergarten

Russian as a colonial language: native Russian speaker sees her language anew

Although I knew that the Russian Empire and Soviet regime spread the Russian language to the countries that were once part of the Russian empire and Soviet Union, I only recently truly felt the...
video

I was a child refugee. Don’t send back the migrant ships!

After long last, I am making videos again. Below you have a video in Italian and a blog post in English and link to the original Italian article I wrote. VIDEO: I made this video "I...

Why culture and language matter

My friend Eric Blaisdell painted these drawings when he was teaching English in Japan to show important it is to learn cultural norms when in a foreign country. In the case of the clueless...

Alphabet politics: Change your alphabet, alienate people

Last year, I reported on how the problems resulting from the Azeri language of Azerbaijan being written in Latin script instead of Cyrillic letters. In Azerbaijan, the elderly who haven’t caught on to the...

Teaching language learning in areas marred by ethnic violence

The odd irony of giving three presentations about language learning in a city that saw 450 people killed last year in ethnic violence was not lost on me. Via the US Embassy, I was...

Living in multiple realities

Being a world traveler and polyglot can disorient someone, even a seasoned traveler like myself. I think my brain is not able to process multiple realities simultaneously. I am actually kind of embarrassed to...
woman's mouth with $20 bill

Putting my money where my mouth is

I was born in a Communist country where you couldn’t speak freely. If you opposed the government, you would go to jail or you’d go to a gulag (prison camp) and may never return,...
barriers

Political barriers shouldn’t be linguistic barriers

I was recently in the former Yugoslavia as an election observer in Macedonia and was pleasantly surprised at how I was able to use Serbo-Croatian to communicate with various people: a Slovenian diplomat, an...

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