Identity

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Episode 2 of 5

Duration: 1 hour

What is it that defines us? Stephen argues that above all, it is the way we speak. Be it a national language, a regional dialect or even class variation - we interpret and define ourselves through our language.

From markets in Kenya to call centres in Newcastle, Stephen charts the shifting patterns of lingua franca and the inexorable spread of Globish (Global English). As many of the world's more than 6000 languages are threatened with linguicide, Stephen seeks out examples of this rise and fall. In Ireland he learns how TV soaps are keeping Irish alive, whilst in Southern France, Provencal and other Oc languages are struggling to survive after 200 years of suppression by Parisian orthodoxy and the heavy hand of the Academie Francaise.

But even amidst the imminent death of some, other languages like Basque survive, whilst Hebrew in Israel is reborn. Variety is the spice and in Bradford poet Ian McMillan teaches Stephen the subtle variations of dialect, whilst in Norwich Stephen finds his ultimate sense of identity in the chants of his beloved Canaries, Norwich City F.C.

  • Stephen Fry in front of the Gateshead Millenium Bridge

    Stephen Fry in front of the Gateshead Millenium Bridge

  • Stephen Fry and the Turkana Tribe

    Stephen Fry and the Turkana Tribe

  • Stephen Fry with a Turkana child

    Stephen Fry with a Turkana child

  • Stephen Fry with Turkana school children

    Stephen Fry with Turkana school children

  • Stephen Fry in front of Dome of the Rock

    Stephen Fry in front of Dome of the Rock

Credits

Writer
Stephen Fry
Writer
Stephen Fry
Presenter
Stephen Fry
Presenter
Stephen Fry
Composer
Debbie Wiseman
Composer
Debbie Wiseman
Executive Producer
Cassian Harrison
Executive Producer
Cassian Harrison
Executive Producer
Gina Carter
Executive Producer
Gina Carter

Broadcasts

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Available on: DVD or Video download

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