Happy New Year! In this show, we are going to go back to shows 70 and 74 in 2008 and 2009 when I talked to Signe Møller here in Denmark about a new charity she had just set up.
This show, 234, is ten years later, so why am I re-visiting Signe’s charity 100% to the children? Because I bumped into a stall for her charity at a local Christmas market last November and I was curious to find out how this one-woman organisation was doing.
Happy New Year or should that be Appy New Year from Absolutely Intercultural, the podcast about all things intercultural? My name’s Anne Fox and this podcast is coming to you from Denmark. This is show number 126, the first one of 2011 or 20 11 as I should probably start to call it. So why Appy New Year? Well in this show I will be introducing you to 3 so-called apps which could help you in your efforts to understand more about intercultural communication.
This is the first time I’m making a show after learning about our win in the European podcast awards for 2010. We won in the non-profit category and I just want to add my thanks to all those of you who voted for us and also to all those of you who have contributed to the show by speaking with me and Laurent over the years. Without you as our conversation partners this podcast would be impossible.
absolutely trivial The topic of small talk is often part of a language course, though not a very important one. But when I talked to Evan Frendo in Germany I discovered that small talk is actually a very important building block of working relationships. Here are links to Evan’s blog and his latest book, Intercultural Business English for German learners of English working in Asia.
absolutely useful? You may remember that in my last show we found out about South Korea from a Chinese perspective when I spoke with Carol who is doing a year’s study exchange there. What also interested me was how she was going to use Korean when she went back to China. So is Korean absolutely useful to Chinese people? Thanks again to Carol who got in touch with us to tell us about her Korean experiences. She certainly showed herself to be adaptable when faced with a sensitive intercultural situation.
absolutely adaptable And adaptability is something which Kenyan teacher, Samuel Osamba still needs to practice even though he has been in the USA for over 20 years now. Let’s hear how absolutely adaptable he needs to be in the classroom.
absolutely word for word I think that culture and language are closely connected which is why we often also talk about language learning on this podcast. As a teacher I am very impressed with the web site called Listen and Write in which language learners can do dictation exercises around short audio snippets often from YouTube videos or Voice of America broadcasts. Since we sometimes get asked for transcripts of the show I wondered if we could combine the two and upload short extracts from the show to Listen & Write for you to work with if you are a language learner. So the first one features the first part of Evan Frendo’s segment about small talk.
absolutely essential But am I right in thinking that culture and language are inextricably mixed? I have recently read a blog post by a respected English teacher who said that he didn’t see any reason to include intercultural communication in his English classes. Since Evan Frendo includes a great deal of intercultural communication in his classes I asked him for his view. Is it absolutely essential in language teaching?
appsolutely mobile After speaking with Evan I signed up to his Twitter feed and discovered a link he had posted about a language app. Apps are small programs that you can download to your mobile phone, tablet or mp3 player. There are thousands of them and I suddenly became curious whether there were any to do with intercultural communication. So in this final segment we’ll go appsolutely mobile (and I hope you heard my pronunciation there!)
So the first app is called Word Lens and works by translating any sign that you photograph. At the moment the only language pair available is English and Spanish so this means that you can photograph a Spanish sign and get an English translation or vice versa. Useful for restaurant menus I would imagine. The catch here though is that although the app is free, you have to buy the dictionary. But when it works, it’s like magic.
The second app I found was called Fasten Seatbelts and this gives you snippets of information about different cultures both in text format and in the form of short videos. Now this one is completely free. The first edition was a collection of Do’s and Don’ts for European countries and the second edition now covers a range of Asian countries.
The third app I found is called Cultural GPS and allows you to see the different Hofstede profiles for 98 different countries in the free version. In the pro version you can create your own personal cultural profile and compare it to any one of the 98 countries or compare pairs of countries to highlight differences and similarities. This is the one I liked the most and I’d be really interested to find out what you think about it.
All in all I think that this was an interesting little project but I have come to the conclusion that these apps can only help with simplistic culture specifics and don’t really help with the more rewarding culture-general aspects of intercultural communication. But maybe you know of other interesting apps? If so then do tell us about it in a comment here on the blog or send us an email. We’d also be very happy if you recorded something for us to include in the show. Well that’s it for this show.
absolutely urban Recently I came across an intriguing project called Soundcities. The project started in the 90s when an anonymous British artist known as Stanza started making sound recordings in cities all over the world. You can now go to the Soundcities website and choose a city or a mood and hear the sounds associated with it. Of course I went straight to the collection for Aarhus which is my nearest big city and among other things, found the familiar sound that the pedestrian crossing plays when it’s safe to cross the road. The project isn’t over yet so if you fancy going out and making some recordings then Stanza would love you to upload them to the website to add to the database. So what sounds would you record for your city? Well before you decide I’d like you to sit back and relax for three minutes while I play you a medley of sounds from a well-known city. The question is, can you guess which one? So where did those sounds come from? I’ll be kind and accept answers from the right country. I recommend you go to soundcities.com and play around with the map and the sounds that you can find there. I also recommend the Soundmaps mixer page where you can create your own cacophony using the mixer on the page. So where did the soundscape come from earlier in the show? I wonder if you guessed Asia? I wonder if you guessed South korea? The sounds in fact came from Seoul. I thought that would be the most appropriate to play for our conversation with Carol.
absolutely delicious I was delighted when Carol from China contacted us saying she’s be willing to talk to us about her experience as an exchange student in Korea. Carol studies Korean and English at Nanjing Normal University in Jiangsu Province in China. She arrived in Korea in August and we talked about various things including food so this is the absolutely delicious segment but first I couldn’t resist asking how she had heard about our podcast.
absolutely on time Samuel Osamba has been living in the US for 20 years but is originally from Kenya to which he returns on project work several times a year. He tried to leave a comment on the blog after our piece on the intercultural business webinar in October but there was a technical glitch. That is now solved so thank you Samuel for letting us know about that but also I was curious to find out more so I arranged to ring Samuel to see if he had another perspective on the issue of timekeeping in our segment absolutely on time. Samuel you’re quite right that Africa does not feature often enough in our podcast so if there is anybody out there from Africa who has some interesting stories to tell then please do get in touch.
absolutely critical I’m not sure that we’ve had recorded critical incidents on this show before but I managed it as I spoke to Carol from China about her year abroad in Korea. Listen as I get it completely wrong not just once but twice in the space of five minutes in absolutely critical!
absolutely back to front For our last segment I decided to play you one of the shorter sessions from TED talk. If you don’t know TED Talks yet then I strongly recommend that you go over to TED.com and choose one or two from the amazing selection of recorded talks by some amazing people. The TED talks are even starting to have their own superstars such as Sir Kenneth Robinson and Professor Sugata Mitra who both talk about education or Hans Roslin who makes statistics come alive or Jill Bolte Taylor giving a minute by minute account of a massive stroke she had. The TED slogan is ‘Ideas worth Spreading’ and I think they are addictive so watch out. The one I’m going to share with you today is by Derek Sivers’ entitled ‘Weird or just different?’ which is about how what you think may be true may not be true or absolutely back to front! One of our very first podcasts featured South African, Mark Anderson who went to South Korea and specifically mentioned this problem that the streets have no names. So now four years later, problem solved!
In this show we’re going to be covering three very different topics with one person, Mike Marzio. In actual fact I’ve been wanting to invite Mike onto the show for a long time mainly to tell us about his wonderful Real English set of video lessons but right now Mike has a pressing reason to talk to us. You may remember that way back in 2006 we featured deaf students from Gallaudet University and how they could express themselves online with hearing Israeli students. Now Mike would like to raise $30,000 to send Zachariah from Kenya to do English at Gallaudet University. We also hear from Mike about his days in the sixties as a civil rights worker helping black people register for the vote and the culture shock he experienced just by visiting a different part of his own country.
absolutely worthwhile So let’s find out how and why Mike is trying to raise $30,000 dollars to send a young man from Kenya to college in the United States. And just to repeat the web address where you can find out more about this project, that was http://zachs-fundraiser.blogspot.com Finally we also hear more about what Zachariah hopes to do once he has completed his studies in America.
absolutely eligible Back in the sixties Mike worked as a civil rights worker helping black people to register to vote in the southern states of the US and what he experienced was culture shock in his own country!
absolutely real If you’ve heard the name Mike Marzio before it’s probably because of the Real English series of videos which Mike has made since the early nineties to help people learn English by hearing Real English. We hear more about why he had the idea and how it works.
absolutely daily As an added bonus on the blog, we include here an English lesson which is based on the story of Zach in Kenya. The lesson was prepared by Sarah Lilburn of the Daily English Show fame. Her blog includes the text of the “conversations with Sarah” section of this show, and a lot of other interesting information about Zach’s area called Karagita, in or near Naivasha, Kenya.
This show has been recorded outdoors because everything seems to happen outdoors at this time of year in Denmark including cooking programmes on the TV as well as weather forecasts.
Don’t forget to add yourself to our Frappr map on the blog. It may be interesting for us to talk to Vox Appeal from Rennes in France for example, who says he’s interested in podcasting in or about minority languages.
This show will be about children because child-rearing norms are deeply culturally bound and serious problems can occur when parents from one culture rear their children in a different culture.
We hear from Collette Döppner who in an earlier show told us about her pregnancy in Germany as a Kenyan woman. Now that her child has been born, things have got no easier as Collette attempts to carry out the Kenyan tradition of sleeping with her baby. Her grandmother provides wise advice and support when the new family visit her in Kenya.
Collette has been able to work out what she wants in discussion with her husband but what happens when you are mother to the new Prince of Denmark, you come from Australia and Danish norms dictate that young children spend much of their time in kindergarten? The press has a field day for certain especially the Australian magazine Woman’s Day, but are Australian and Danish norms so far apart or is this just tabloid journalism? I talked to Michael Coghlan and Alison Waye in Adelaide to try and make some sense of this scandal.
Finally we talk about slightly older children of about 4 or 5 years old. Does it make a difference whether what they are attending is called a school or a kindergarten? This topic arose when I was talking to Ewan McIntosh about something else at the Reboot conference in May and I suddenly began to wonder if we weren’t talking at cross purposes. In the process you will hear what is surely the shortest curriculum in the world, the Scottish school curriculum which is summed up in eight words as ‘Successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors’. A succinct and positive note on which to end.
The next show will be coming to you from Germany on August 10th.