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30 September 2006


Luang Prabang, is a province of Laos, located in the north of the country.  Although it has just two main streets it contains 33 Buddhist temples, a royal palace and a number of buildings from the French colonial period.  The hills around have caves filled with Buddha statues and villages where people have continued to live a very traditional life.

Denise Heywood, author of Ancient Luang Prabang explains why, despite having been made a World Heritage site by Unesco, it remains relatively undiscovered by western tourists.

Travel abroad offers people the opportunity to test their mettle with foreign languages and similarly the welcoming foreigners sometimes try to preclude any such endeavours by making their own stabs at addressing us in our mother tongue. 

Peter Curran is joined by Adam Jacot de Boinot, author of The Meaning of Tingo and Charlie Croker author of Lost in Translation to discuss some of the more unusual attempts at translations that they have come across. 

Presented by Peter Curran

Uzbekistan A new silk road with both horses and cars making use of it.

Photo: Luang Prabang, Laos

This week's guests: 

Denise Heywood is a lecturer, journalist, author and photographer. She recently lived in Cambodia where she worked as a journalist for three years.  Now based in London, Denise has lectured all over Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe.  She is a lecturer for the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies (NADFAS) and for the British Museum on their Asian Art Course, and has taught courses at the University of Cambridge.

Ancient Luang Prabang
Publisher: River Books, Thailand
ISBN: 9749863240

Charlie Croker is an author and journalist.  His previous books include the Little Book Of Beckham and A Game of Three Halves.  He has also written for The Times, The Independent on Sunday and The Spectator among others.  For his latest book Lost in Translation, Charlie has travelled to many tourist destinations in search of linguistic laxity.

Lost in Translation: Misadvendures in English abroad
Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books
ISBN: 1843172089

Adam Jacot de Boinod is a classics scholar, his interest in foreign languages and passion for words developed when he worked for the BBC programme QI.  He has listed his favourites in The Meaning Of Tingo, searching through 280 dictionaries, 140 websites and numerous books on languages.

The Meaning of Tingo: And Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 0141021985

Tingo is an Easter Island word meaning 'to borrow things from a friend's house one by one until there's nothingleft'

Extract from Gerard Hoffnung's address to the Oxford Union where he reads out a letter from a Tyrolean hotelier in reply to a request for accommodation.

CD title: A Last Encore
Peformer: Gerard Hoffnung
Track 5 - CD 2: I have here some letters
Label: BBC
ISBN: 0563 536756

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info

John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
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