The World in Words

The World in Words

A podcast about languages and the people who speak them.

Chinese sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth is coming to Netflix.

The sci-fi of another language

The World in Words

In the West, we are used to sci-fi written by English-speakers who dream up English-speaking utopias and dystopias. Often in the final reel, humanity is saved by English-speaking heroes. So what should we expect from China’s newly-thriving sci-fi scene?

Yes or No

When an American says ‘sure’ to a Brit, does it mean yes or no?

The World in Words
Ira Lightman at a poetry reading in Manchester, UK, at an event organized by Poets and Players. Lightman moonlights as a poetry plagiarism detective. 

This poetry detective tracks down word thieves. But are they all plagiarists?

Arts, Culture & Media
Scientist Joshua Miele demonstrates a virtual wireless Braille keyboard attached as an input device to an Android phone.

Will blind people use Braille in the future?

The World in Words
Fans watching the Germany-Mexico FIFA World Cup game at a fan fest in Saint Petersburg, Russia on June 17, 2018.

How soccer became multilingual

The World in Words
A performance from the Netherlands-based comedy improv group Easy Laughs.

This is your brain on improv

Ever wondered about people who can improvise on stage? Neuroscientist Charles Limb and comedian Anthony Veneziale did. First came the bromance, then Veneziale found himself improvising inside an fMRI machine.

A picture of a Basque Shepherd

How the Basque language has survived

The World in Words

This week on the podcast we talk about Basque. How did this language survive the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco when speaking and writing and reading were illegal? With more than six dialects, how did Basque develop a language standard? And how has this minority language thrived and even grown in the years since Francisco Franco’s dictatorship ended?

a baby sitting on steps and a child on a cobblestone street

The hardest question for a third culture kid: Where is home?

The World in Words

Karolina lives in Boston but grew up in several countries and speaks a bunch of languages. Her English is perfect but she doesn’t feel completely at home in it, or in American culture. Welcome to the world of third culture kids, a fast-growing group of people who fit in everywhere and nowhere.

Alina Simone's daughter Zoe teaches her Russian-speaking grandfather some basic Chinese.

Russian-speaking New Yorker would rather her daughter learn Chinese

Alina Simone was born in the Soviet Union to Russian-speaking parents. She has given up on passing the language on to her daughter.

A humpback whale surfacing from the water surrounded by seagulls

If you could talk to the animals

The World in Words

What’s the meaning of all those howls and growls? Is it language? This week on the podcast, NOVA’s Ari Daniel explores how three species communicate.