BBC Series

BBC Radio 4 : On Language Location

A two-part BBC Radio 4 series transmitted in October 2014 in which anthropologist and linguist Mark Turin visits Bhutan and Burma/Myanmar to learn about language policy and the linguistic rights of Indigenous communities.


Monday, 20 October, 2014

Bhutan is a landlocked country in the eastern Himalaya, best known as a Buddhist kingdom where the policy of ‘Gross National Happiness’ replaced GDP. Mark visits Bhutan part of a major collaborative research project to document the country’s endangered oral traditions … more


Monday, 27 October, 2014

Mark Turin speaks to government representatives, teachers, religious leaders and language experts in the field to understand the challenges facing Myanmar’s many minority languages in the 21st century. … more



BBC Radio 4 : Our Language in Your Hands

A three-part BBC Radio 4 series transmitted in December 2012 in which anthropologist and linguist Mark Turin visits Nepal, South Africa and New York to explore the fate of the world’s endangered languages. The series has also been syndicated to Public Radio International (click here to listen to the PRI intro to the series), BBC World Service and National Public Radio.

Monday, 3 December, 2012

Nepal is home to over 100 languages, many of which are now endangered. Languages spoken for generations may soon be extinct. Anthropologist and linguist Mark Turin has spent years talking to the last speakers of languages under threat, and now he returns to the Himalayas to show us how communities are preserving and even reviving their speech forms … more


Monday, 10 December, 2012

Mark Turin travels to South Africa to get to grips with the country’s complex language politics and policies. Until the mid 1990s, there were just two official languages, English and Afrikaans, while other indigenous African languages were sidelined. Today the situation is different, with eleven official languages recognized by the Constitution of South Africa as having equal value and importance … more


Monday, 17 December, 2012

New York has long been a city of immigrants, and as a result of waves of immigration, language experts describe it as the most linguistically dense city on earth. The Number 7 train, designated a US Heritage Trail, rattles its way from Flushing to the heart of Manhattan, passing through areas where Korean, Bengali and Spanish are the languages spoken on the street. In this episode, we meet linguists who are tracking New York’s many languages and hear from those who believe that the US needs to promote the English language ahead of all others. The journey ends with the story of Yiddish language … more