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Fun with Foreign Language
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With Elizabeth Little, author of Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of a Language Fanatic


Despite your possibly negative high school classroom experiences, it isn't impossible to learn languages, and doing so doesn't have to be boring. If you’ve learned one language, you can learn another, no matter how grammatically inadequate you may think you are. Granted, you might not want to discuss the vagaries of Lithuanian noun declension at a cocktail party, but all you have to do is take a quick look at the many ways mankind can say “poo” to know that language study is much more fun than most people give it credit for.

Elizabeth Little, author of Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of a Language Fanatic, is a writer and editor living in New York City. She has worked as a literary agent and as a writer and editor for the travel guide Let's Go: China. She writes regularly for the travel section of The New York Times

Please join Elizabeth and host Paula B. as they noodle around with:

  • Why languages can be fun to learn
  • How various languages do odd things with nouns and verbs
  • Which languages are hardest to learn
  • How the idea of gender for nouns came about (now you know whom to blame)
  • What happened when Elizabeth asked for a menu in a Chinese restaurant--in China.

After Elizabeth's interview, Jeff DeRego tells us about three movies for writers that have got it right.

Interviewee: Elizabeth Little
Host: Paula B.
Date: March 9, 2008
Running time: 49:32
File size: 24 megabytes
Rating: G
Elizabeth Little's Web site:

Purchase Elizabeth's book at