Episode 12: No “Drive-By Victims” of Language: A Conversation with John De Mado

“I want my colleagues to understand the nature of language — the fact that it is an enigma, the fact that it is a common phenomenon that is enigmatic. You have the right to experiment. Language is an incredible phenomenon. And of nature it invites us to experiment in the classroom. You’re working in an arena that allows you extraordinary latitude in what you can do with and for kids.”

Only with the fascinating John De Mado can one begin a podcast by pairing linguistics and Uber–and find it leads to powerful and moving insights.

Over many years, it has been pure pleasure to have shared hours of thoughtful and humorous conversation with John as we worked in the language education field. Because John brings a brilliant mind, a keen eye, and a tender heart to world language acquisition, there is no realm of education or life-application that is off-limits when we share. It’s a joy to bring one of these wise-ranging and transformational conversations to you in this podcast.

Bring something to take notes with as you listen! John’s skills of observation and summary of the experience of language provide many anchors for thought and action in the lives of all of us, not only the educators John has been serving so beautifully over his professional career. The delightful, funny, touching, and personally-relevant stories John tells will make you think, and open new perspectives on the enigma of language. I’m betting you’ll want to take notes like I did:

“The thing we need to know about language in general is that there are no experts.”

“The beginning of language is when you sense that you own some language, personal language you have worked for, not memorized… There is not one word inside of us we have not chosen.”

“We need to be helping children to acquire language so that they can pivot on the spot based on the situation in which they find themselves…To assume that children are drive-by victims of language is ridiculous.”

What insights will you experience? What assertions will you ponder? Most importantly for John–and for me: What stories will YOU tell about the language you have selected for yourself to solve your problems in life, and to find “your group”? What stories will you tell about language in the lives of others?


Click to listen:

It’s About Language – Episode 12 – No “Drive-By Victims” of Language: A Conversation with John De Mado

Listen with captions:

Episode 12 – No “Drive-By Victims of Language”: A Conversation with John De Mado – Audiogram with Captions

You can also find this week’s episode on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Or subscribe to Fluency Online on YouTube.

Want to hear more? Access previous episodes, and get to know the wonderful people I talk with through the It’s About Language page, or by clicking on the Podcast tab above.

Interested in learning more about language and cultural education and advocacy? Looking to learn more about and/or apply Gallup Strengths in your team or organization? Check out the Services tab to see how I can be of help to you.

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