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Students across the state are heading back to school this week – and they’ll be seeing a lot of changes.  The common core state standards are taking effect and changing the way teachers teach and students take tests.

Schools are struggling to find the best way to teach ESL kids English.  New Britain school system was recently featured on PBS Newshour for changing all their bilingual classes to English only. 

Jonathan McNicol photo

The linguist John McWhorter joins us to talk about his book What Language Is (And What It Isn't, and What It Could Be). From Standard English to Black English; obscure tongues only spoken by a few thousand people in the world to the big ones like Mandarin—What Language Is celebrates the history and curiosities of languages around the world and smashes our assumptions about "correct" grammar. Plus, a look at the career con man and serial impostor Clark Rockefeller, who wasn't, ya know, actually a Rockefeller at all.

Chion Wolf

We're talking today about a word that can refer to the solid waste produced by male cattle. It can also refer to nonsensical talk not grounded in fact. In 1986, the American philosopher Harry Frankfurt published a scholarly analysis of this concept. In some ways it was a groundbreaking paper, but it also constituted a furtherance of an almost constant inquiry by thinking people.

Chet Baker was a troubled soul, who had one of the most unique and haunting voices in jazz. Joni Mitchell  is a complex artist who has stayed away from the spotlight, letting her music tell her story. We explore these two iconic artists on Where We Live.

NicRad on Flickr Creative Commons

Today’s show features two loosely-related interviews. Billy Collins is probably the most popular poet in the United States and this summer he’s guest curating and guest voicing The Writer’s Almanac, a popular Garrison Keillor radio segment which showcases one poem every day and then looks back-- usually because of birthdays—at creators of the past.

In Praise Of Haiku

Jul 22, 2013
Chion Wolf - Filtered Through Instagram

It all started last March.  Emily Caswell, who was then working at the front desk here in the Dankosky Building, sent an email to all employees about a pair of glasses found in the parking lot.

I wrote a haiku:

doesn’t it look fine
seeing the world in a blur
without these glasses?

Two weeks later, Emily sent us all an email about a gray men's belt found in the parking lot.
So I wrote:

As gray as the sky,
As gray as UFO men,
This belt, found in March.

In Praise of Haiku

Jul 22, 2013
Chion Wolf, filtered through Instagram

It all started last March.  Emily Caswell, who was then working at the front desk here in the Dankosky Building, sent an email to all employees about a pair of glasses found in the parking lot.

I wrote a haiku:

doesn’t it look fine
seeing the world in a blur
without these glasses?

Two weeks later, Emily sent us all an email about a gray men's belt found in the parking lot.
So I wrote:

As gray as the sky,
As gray as UFO men,
This belt, found in March.

Shane Leonard/Hard Case Crime

Imagine somebody offered you a ticket to go hear Stephen King be interviewed (by me) on stage at the Bushnell in Hartford July 18. Imagine also that you had never read any of his work.  What would Stephen King want you to read in the next ten days, just to get to know him.

katerha/flickr creative commons

The Book Show gang joins Faith live with recommendations in all categories. And we’ll take your calls! What’re you reading? What’ve you recently read and loved? Are you a librarian? A teacher? Are you part of a book club? Call us!

 

Flickr www.freestock.ca

Flickr www.freestock.ca

Flickr Creative Commons, shutterhacks

Today you will meet two poets and one novelist, all women, all fascinating, all appearing around here in the next three days. 

Hartford Public Schools have signed an agreement with federal education authorities to improve supports and services for students who are English Language Learners.  

A complaint was filed with U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in 2007 on behalf of Somali-Bantu, Liberian and Spanish-speaking students in the Hartford Public Schools.   

"Students did not have appropriate amounts of supports, accommodations and services so they could understand what was being asked of them."

Hartford Public Schools have signed an agreement with federal education authorities to improve supports and services for students who are English Language Learners.  

A complaint was filed with U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in 2007 on behalf of Somali-Bantu, Liberian and Spanish-speaking students in the Hartford Public Schools.   

"Students did not have appropriate amounts of supports, accommodations and services so they could understand what was being asked of them."

Flickr Creative Commons, crdotx

Most language experts agree that English has more words than almost any other language, although it's difficult to pin down how many words any particular language contains.

The Oxford English Dictionary has entries for roughly 600,000 words, but it also doesn't contain lots of commonly used words. So you could attempt to master English vocabulary and not have time to master anything else.

Padraic/flickr creative commons

What is it about other people’s language that moves some of us to anxiety or even rage? For centuries, sticklers the world over have donned the cloak of authority to control the way people use words. Now this sensational new book strikes back to defend the fascinating, real-life diversity of this most basic human faculty.

Illustration by J. Holt / Flickr Creative Commons

WNPR has an experimental radio project and we want you to get involved. The idea is simple - we provide a theme, you call our hotline and tell a story. 

The theme: a work-related haiku!

On July 22, Colin McEnroe is doing a show all about the haiku, and we want you to write one inspired by the work YOU do. Call up our voicemail number and leave us a message with your haiku: 860-580-9677.

Haiku is unrhymed, syllabic poetry - three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables.

Chion Wolf

It's been a noisy week in Lake Profanity. The Speaker of the House told the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate to "go eff himself." Twice.

Glamour magazine ran, on its cover, the s-word with one letter asterisked out -- a practice writer Steve Rushin refers to as "obscene hangman."  And the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a police officer cannot arrest you simply for giving him the finger.

Today, two guests who chronicle shifts in spoken and written English will discuss new words and usages arising in 2012 and doubtless slipping over to 2013.

But first, allow me to mention a few of my own linguistic beefs. Have you noticed how everything is curated these days? We need to stop and have a conversation about what is and isn't the work of a curator.

Jonathan McNicol photo

The linguist John McWhorter joins us to talk about his book What Language Is (And What It Isn't, and What It Could Be). From Standard English to Black English; obscure tongues only spoken by a few thousand people in the world to the big ones like Mandarin—What Language Is celebrates the history and curiosities of languages around the world and smashes our assumptions about "correct" grammar. Plus, a look at the career con man and serial impostor Clark Rockefeller, who wasn't, ya know, actually a Rockefeller at all.

Gwydion M. Williams

If I told you that England is in the midst of a translation crisis, you'd probably assume it had something to do with the Olympics. Not so much.

The British court system recently awarded a contract to one company, Applied Language Solutions, for all the legally mandated interpreting work that goes on in court. The problem is that ALS has proved to be repeatedly inadequate. It sends interpreters who are not up to the job...or they don't show up at all, halting the proceedings and costing the government thousands of pounds.

Jonathan McNicol photo

When you hear other people talk, how much does the language they use shape your opinion of them? Robert Lane Greene, international correspondent for The Economist, says that the way we look down our noses at ‘poor’ grammar, the way we hold up myths like the bloody origins of the word shibboleth, the hegemonic way we look at languages themselves makes what we hear in other people’s words nothing less than the politics of identity. His book is You Are What You Speak.

Samuel Amadon, the Hartford Poet

Jul 18, 2012
Chion Wolf

Samuel Amadon is a poet who grew up just outside of Hartford. He left for college, and grad school, but kept finding himself coming back to the capital city. Now he teaches in South Carolina, and has recently published “The Hartford Book” – a collection of gritty poems he wrote about his time living in and around Hartford.

Cultural Competency for Kids

Jun 27, 2012
basheertome, creative commons

Students are learning math and reading, but do they know how to get along with others around the world?

It’s called “cultural competence” - a facility with different languages, an understanding of climate and geography, and familiarity with global financial markets. And according to the Connecticut World Affairs Council, it’s what our students lack.  A “global context.”

Those who share this view say covering science, technology, engineering, and math - is great, but it isn’t enough.

Chion Wolf

In the audio: Experts discuss the future of FCC regulation of TV and radio for indencent content.

takomabibelot, Flickr Creative Commons

Today is our Summer Poetry Show, so let's begin with a poem. This is one of my favorites, a relatively obscure Pablo Neruda poem called "Let's Wait."

Other days still to come
are rising like bread
or waiting like chairs or a
pharmacopeia, or merchandise:
a factory of days in the making:
artisans of the soul
are building and weighing and
preparing
days bitter or precious
that will knock at your door in due time
to award you an orange
or murder you in cold blood where you stand.

Puns!

May 30, 2012
Ecstatic Mark, Flickr Creative Commons

Puns are terrible, right? But then why do we love Groucho? When Mrs. Teasdale tells him: "This is a gala day for you," he says: "Well, a gal a day is enough for me." He also tells her:
"You can leave in a taxi If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff. "

These are puns, right? But instead of being agonizing they're part of the Rosetta Stone for the greatest manic American comedy.

Chion Wolf

Yesterday, Wolfie and I walked the Wallace Stevens route with our friend the Hartford film-maker Helder Mira and intern Andrew Kufta. We started at the first marker.

The Life Of Languages

Oct 12, 2011
Kim Nowacki, Flickr Creative Commons

There are a lot of made-up languages with big fans. You may have heard of Na'vi from the movie Avatar, or Elvish from Lord of the Rings. Among fans, many of these languages have found a home on the web, where they continue to be developed and studied.

At the same time, thousands of real languages around the world are facing extinction.

Flickr Creative Commons, Hoboken Condos

Today on the Nose we'll run through a grab-bag of topics, starting with the the search for meaning in Red Sox Nation following the collapse of the crimson hose.

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