The Struggle For Language

What happens to languages after drastic political distortion?


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Chris Bowlby hears how German, a once great international language of culture and science, is trying finally to banish the echoes of barbarism.


Maureen Freely hears how writers like Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk work with a language that had half its vocabulary expunged, or made politically incorrect, in a government reform that banned words of Arabic and Persian origin in favour of pure Turkish.

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Will the collapse of apartheid in South Africa lead to the eventual demise of the Afrikaans language? For playwright Mike Van Kraan, this is personal.

Brought up by his Afrikaans-speaking parents, he refused to speak the language as a young man as a means of fighting apartheid.

Yet today, in the new South Africa, his children are coming home from school speaking Afrikaans.

Mike goes on a personal journey to define for himself the struggle for the language.

Contributors include F W De Klerk and Andre Brink.