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In a special edition of the programme for Radio 4's 1989 season, Michael Rosen talks to playwright David Edgar about the rise and fall of the language that became synonymous with communism - from the hyperbole of Ceaucescu's Romania ('General Secretary, President, President of the State Council, Chairman of the National Defence Council, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Socio-Economic Development' was his own job description) to phrases that have passed into the very definition of the Marxist-Leninist dialectic. The demolition of the Berlin Wall led to dramatic changes not only in the political and economic lives of those living in the former Eastern Bloc, but also to the language of those countries too, as they tried to shed the years of euphemism built up within a strongly ideological political system.

Also, political journalist Anne McElvoy tells of her lingustic adventures in East Germany both before and after 1989, and Dr Zoran Milutinovic examines how Serbo-Croat has changed since the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

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30 minutes

Last on

Mon 23 Nov 2009 23:00

The funny words that kids invent

Kids' Invented Words article: insect day

Have a look at some of the fantastic words that children invent and reimagine.

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