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WorldView Good Reads: Off the Press for July 2018

Published: July 24, 2018

Here are some good reads that have caught our attention during the month of July. 

Take a Walk in the Woods. Doctor’s Orders.

“Forest bathing,” or immersing yourself in nature, is being embraced by doctors and others as a way to combat stress and improve health.  

Why It’s Okay for Bilingual Children to Mix Languages

Few would consider mastering more than one language a bad idea. In fact, research points to a number of cognitive, economic and academic advantages in being bilingual. But many feel that sticking to one new language at a time is best. Yet Chisato Danjo draws on a recent study, part of a new wave of multilingualism studies, to suggest this received wisdom is a myth.

World Cup 2018: Football Sans Frontières

The New York Review of Books sponsored a series of essays about the 2018 World Cup guest-edited by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro. Now that the global tournament is over, the game returns to its roots, which are not in stadiums or on TV, but in vacant lots, on streets, and in playgrounds around the globe. As Jelly-Schapiro notes, “Until recently, the kids playing pickup games, lending their own vocabulary to a universal grammar, were calling themselves Messi. Soon, it may be Mbappé. Wherever they’re growing up, they don’t want to live walled off in a ghetto. They want to live in the world. Football is how they do it.”

Language Skills in Times of Crisis

The entire world watched with bated breath as an international rescue team worked to evacuate the Wild Boars soccer team from Tham Luang Cave in Thailand. One critical member of that team was also one of the boys awaiting rescue: Adul Sam-on, the only person in the trapped group who could speak English. Adul was able to communicate clearly with the British divers who found the team, relaying information critical to the rescue effort. Minako O'Hagan discusses the importance of languages in times of disaster, and why emergency preparedness plans should include a plan for communicating across language barriers.

Interpretation at the United Nations

One of the hihgest-visibility careers in languages is that of a diplomatic interpreter, someone who facilitates real-time spoken communication between speakers of different languages. Lynn Vission worked as an interpreter at the United Nations for 22 years, and in this interview she shares her experiences interpreting for such notables as U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Russian President Boris Yeltsin. 

The Power . . . and the Pervasiveness . . . of Accents

Did you know you speak English with a distinct accent? Roberto Rey Agudo, in his New York Times OpEd, contests that everyone has an accent . . . a way of using and pronouncing words that connects them to speakers of similar linguistic, social, and geographical background. But sterotyping causes us to revere certain accents and distain others, leading to real-life consequences in the form of linguistic discrimination.

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