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Beyond Words

Dec 1, 2016
Katie Tegtmeyer / Creative Commons

Imagine if you couldn't speak and had no capacity for learning language as we know it. You couldn't choose words to communicate your feelings and desires and needs. You wouldn't know words that help others understand the world in which you live. This isn't like vacationing in a country that speaks a different language where the words are different but still convey universal concepts. It's so difficult to understand a world without words, that we block the signals sending us non-verbal cues every day. This is completely foreign to most of us. What would you do? How would you communicate? How would you survive?

Love, Politics, and Leonard Cohen

Nov 14, 2016
Rama / Creative Commons

Leonard Cohen, one of our greatest poets, died last Monday and was buried on Thursday next to his parents in a cemetery in Montreal. The cause of his death was leukemia. The likely cause of the leukemia was a lifetime of smoking.

Betsy Kaplan / WNPR

Against Everything is a book about self-improvement. Before you tune out, I ask you to challenge your notion of 'self-improvement.'

Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature. The prolific musician is the first Nobel winner to have forged a career primarily as a singer-songwriter. What's more, he's also the first American to have won the prize in more than two decades. Not since novelist Toni Morrison won in 1993 has an American claimed the prize. Dylan earned the prize "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," according to the citation by the Swedish Academy, the...

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Learning English can be tough for children whose parents speak a different language at home. But a new study suggests that, in Spanish-speaking homes, learning words and numbers in Spanish actually helps children pick up English faster.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings. But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

After repeatedly denying that elements of a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama were used in Melania Trump's address on the first night of the Republican National Convention, an employee of the Trump Organization took responsibility for the flap on Wednesday. In a statement issued by the Trump campaign, staff writer Meredith McIver accepted responsibility for the addition of Michelle Obama's words in the speech. In her statement, McIver said Melania Trump "always liked" Mrs. Obama and read passages...

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As you may have heard, Pokemon is back (are back?) with the release last week of a new game. Pokemon Go is an augmented reality app that, through the magic of GPS on your phone, adds Pokemon to your surroundings, or, at least, to your surroundings as represented on your phone's screen, so that you can catch them.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings. But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

Ravid Kahalani

The music industry loves to label bands in categories like folk, funk, or jazz, but Ravid Kahalani, founder of Yemen Blues , proudly calls his ensemble "just good music."

"The way kids speak today, I'm here to tell you." Over the course of history, every aging generation has made that complaint , and it has always turned out to be overblown. That's just as well. If the language really had been deteriorating all this time, we'd all be grunting like bears by now. But when it comes to language, history is bunk. Or anyway, it hasn't deterred critics from monitoring the speech of today's young people for the signs of cultural decline. In fact it was a professor of...

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Former Governor Lowell Weicker says the Republican Party no longer embraces the ideals of prudent financial governance and social conscience that once defined them.

Of the 3 million students identified as gifted in the U.S., English Language Learners are by far the most underrepresented. And nobody knows that better than 17-year-old Alejandra Galindo. "It's just kind of hard to not see people who look like me in my classes," she says. "I'm a minority in the gifted world." Alejandra is a senior at North Canyon High School in Phoenix. Before she was identified as gifted, she was identified as an English Language Learner, or ELL. You know, those kids who...

Before she was a writer, Sara Baume set out to be a visual artist. "First and foremost I see; I see the world and then I describe it ..." she says. "I don't know another way to write. I always anchor everything in an image." Baume's process works — a review in The Irish Times called her debut novel a "stunning and wonderful achievement by a writer touched by greatness." Baume loves words, and she loves fitting words together so they flow like poetry. "I can hear in my head the way a sentence...

Maegan Tintari / Creative Commons

I once slipped on a banana peel in my crowded high school cafeteria when I was sixteen years old. I was navigating the busy lunch room in my almost six-inch platform shoes and my breezy spring dress, when the peel sent me flying - before ungraciously landing me on my back with my dress over my face. I was never so embarrassed - or uncomfortable in a pair of shoes.

In his new documentary , Connecticut journalism professor and newspaper columnist Frank Harris III spotlights what is unarguably one of the most controversial words in America: the n-word.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHo0gJ6DWPc When Melissa Adams and her sister were growing up in Lynwood, near Compton, Calif., their black father and Mexican mother taught them to be proud of all aspects of their identity: They were black, and they were Mexican. At home, that came easy. Publicly, it was harder. Consider the time Melissa was named valedictorian of her middle school when she was 13. It was the first time anyone could remember a black student winning that honor at her school. ...

Author Neil Gaiman has always been fascinated by dreams. As he sees it, dreams are what differentiate people from one another. "None of us exist in a world that is the same world that any of the rest of us live in," Gaiman explains to Fresh Air 's Sam Briger. "The world that's important is the world behind each of our eyes, which is something that none of the rest of us can access." One could argue that Gaiman's dream world is a bit more public than most. In his horror/fantasy comic book...

newsarchive.medill.northwestern.edu

The New York Times and Washington Post are adding new forms of address and pronouns for people who haven't chosen a single gender. Research indicates that ending a text with a period seems insincere. Dictionaries are throwing open their doors and letting in all kinds of slangy words that have been living on the internet.

Lindsay Zier-Vogel / The Love Lettering Project

When was the last time you sent a letter? Not an email, but a real, tangible piece of mail? If your answer is "not recently," you’re not alone. Except for the occasional birthday or holiday card, most of us haven’t sent -- or received -- good, old-fashioned snail mail in a very long time.

Anonymous Inmate / Permission by Ron Jenkins

Dante's painful journey through the nine circles of hell in "Dante’s Inferno" defies description: " If I had verses harsh and grating enough to describe this wretched hole…" Yet this is the most alluring section of the "The Divine Comedy," in the most enduring poem of all time. Dante Alighieri was a 14th century poet and politician who wrote his epic poem about sin and redemption upon his permanent exile from his beloved city of Florence. To escape his personal hell, Dante imagined a journey...

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Connecticut students who learn English as a second language drop out of high school at a rate higher than any other New England state, according to an analysis by the New England Secondary School Consortium .

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Speaking on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday, actor Charlie Sheen revealed he is HIV-positive and has spent millions trying to hide it . This hour, we take a closer look at the words Sheen used in discussing his actions and illness.

©Signed, Sealed & Undelivered Team, 2015. Courtesy of the Museum voor Communicatie, The Hague, The Netherlands

Deadbeat husbands, horrible bosses, and unplanned pregnancies are just a few of the topics written about in a recently-rediscovered chest found in the Netherlands containing hundreds of late- 17th century letters. A researcher at Yale is examining this "postal treasure trove," which is packed with all sorts of historical artifacts.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Next Wednesday marks the beginning of the Latino & Iberian Film Festival at Yale . This hour, we learn more about it with festival director Margherita Tortora.

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