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Business of Language Podcast Episode 10: Interview with Alex Strick van Linschoten

For the 10th episode of the Business of  Language Podcast, I interviewed Alex Strick van Linschoten, a writer, researcher and polyglot (he speaks English, Dutch, French, German, Farsi/Dari, and Pashto) who is currently based in Berlin. I spoke with him after he had recently returned from the Middlebury Language Schools intensive Arabic program (Middlebury at Mills College in Oakland California). His full reflection of his time at that program can be found at this link; if you’re considering completing an intensive, immersive program, especially in Arabic, this post is a must-read.

In the interview we cover Alex’s time in Afghanistan, where he helped found AfghanWire and where he worked as a translator; his research interests; and we delve into the concept of ecolinguisim, a term introduced to me by Alex through the sharing of this Loving Language blog post.

Alex is a true, and versatile, language professional, and one who is curious not only about the professional benefits that linguistic capabilities bring, but also about the moral obligations of language learning, and the unique challenges that accompany the process of learning a minority or endangered language. A large contributor to these challenges is the scarcity of high-quality textbooks and other learning materials; luckily, for some languages, like Pashto and Dari, that trend is shifting. Alex recommends textbooks for these languages by Georgetown Press (links available at the end of this post).

We cover a lot of ground in this episode, and we discuss issues at the very heart of why we should learn languages. 

You can find out more about Alex and his research by visiting his website and blog, A Different Place.

Links to more information Alex Strick van Linschoten shared on this episode: 

Language Learning: 

Minority/Endangered Languages & Ecolinguism 

Listen to more episodes of the Business of Language here!

Written by

Tammy Bjelland
Language lover, teacher & coach.

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