Babel from CBC Radio
Summary: Babel is a show about the glorious and uniquely Canadian mash-up that results when old ideas about English collide with our new Canada, where one in five people speak neither French nor English as a first language. Host Mariel Borelli takes us to the street, the classroom and the boardroom to explore our evolving language.
Babel is going global. As English expands in countries such as India, China and South Africa, regional varities are emerging. And it's not surprising. Most conversations in English nowadays occur between people who speak it as a second, third or fourth language. That's because there are four times as many non-native speakers in the world as native speakers, and they're developing their own standards and lexicons. Babel wraps up its summer series by asking: Who owns English, and why does it matter?
Supratentorial, bond yields, overclocking...we hear jargon everywhere, every day from doctors to economists to computer experts. Sometimes it feels like a completely different language, and if we don't have the fluency, we can feel shut out. But if we do learn the lingo, it can help us feel included. We'll explore jargon and whether it helps or hinders.
Whether it's catering to both ESL and non-ESL students, finding new ways of teaching pronunciation, or adding video games to the classroom, English instruction in Canada is changing. We're asking: what's the best way to teach English?
Punctuation can help clarify what we mean - even emphasize certain points. But with the proliferation of smart phones, tablets and Twitter, many of us are tapping out shorter messages faster, often tossing punctuation aside. Or, to make sure our message is noticed, we use punctuation excessively, using five exclamation marks instead of one!!!!! Then there are emoticons. :-) We're asking how technology is changing the way we use punctuation, and where we're at in the punctuation evolution.
Whether it's in the baseball dugout, at home, or out in the community, many Canadians are spicing up their English conversation by tossing in words from different languages such as Hindi, Arabic, or Spanish. And that includes Canada's Major League Baseball team. We'll hear personal stories of mashups, find out why we mix up our languages, and discover the winner of the Best New Borrowed Word contest.
On any given day in this country, we're speaking about 150 languages: from Cantonese to Punjabi to Arabic. And that means the possibility of something getting lost somewhere in English translation is pretty high. Whether you're seeking justice in the courtroom, getting help in the emergency room, or telling your partner how you feel, choosing the right words is key. But how good are we at doing that? We're exploring: what's lost and found in English translation?
Canadians love to spill on spelling -- now more than ever. The way we spell is being affected by the rise of technology (and American spell check) and the number of ESL speakers. We see incorrect spelling, and creative new spelling, everywhere from texts and emails to websites and research papers. And yet many of us stand by the traditional rules. We're asking: how important IS spelling these days?
One in five Canadians speaks English (and French) as a second language. And more Canadians than ever speak with an accent, including Babel host Mariel Borelli. But while we love diversity in the streets, it can be a different story in the workplace. Babel explores what it's like to have an accent on the job in Canada.