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Presented by Matt Frei from Washington DC. Email and follow us on Twitter @bbcamericana.

Americana: Presented by Matt Frei from Washington DC.

America - the land of many languages.

It has been a week where an increasingly infamous Brit - step forward BP CEO Tony Hayward - struggled to find the right words in front of some of the world's most powerful ( and angry ) politicians.

Americana takes a closer look at language. We are helped on our journey by America's National Spelling Bee Champion Anamika Veeramani about the Bee and the toughest words of the English language.

Matt talks to Ammon Shea - a lexicographer who has read the Oxford English Dictionary cover to cover. He explains the flexibility and sometimes rigid traditions of "American English".

American is home to over 325 languages. Amish and Mennonite Americans, often known for their tight communities and traditional ways of life, explain why it's worth preserving the Pennsylvania Dutch language and how, try as they might to keep English conversation to a minimum.

And spy novelist Alan Furst was born and raised in the United States, but writes his tales of espionage and mystery in a European style English. Americana uncovers the truth behind the choice and the setting for the novels.

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Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 20 Jun 2010 19:15