Ellen Jovin is variously described as a “linguaphile,” a “language-crazed writer,” a “grammar freak,” a “former freelance writer,” and a professional trainer specializing in communication skills. On the first of July in 2009, Ellen began an impressive language and culture project called “Words & Worlds of New York” with the goal exploring the myriad languages spoken in The Big Apple. In her own words, she started the massive undertaking because:

“I love languages, and I love New York. Also, it is possible I may be a wee bit compulsive. I had studied German, Spanish, and French in school, but I wanted to go more global this time. The initial plan was a year, but that soon became two years, which eventually became three years, then four, and now, nearly five years. The schedule has so far included 18 different languages involving a total of nine different alphabets and writing systems. I am plotting the nineteenth. Through my blog here, this site chronicles my linguistic adventures, some misadventures, and the mental and physical fallout of spending a lot of time outside one’s own alphabet and grammar. In 2013, I added a directory of learning-resource reviews for other people seeking to learn a new language or reinforce old skills. This site [EllenJovin.com] is intended to be a tribute to the joys of language learning, and to the extraordinary linguistic riches of my beloved adopted city and makeshift language-learning lab: New York.”

To date, Ellen has completed 3-month missions in the following languages and written over 1,000 pages of content:

  • Russian: July to August 2009
  • Arabic: September to October 2009
  • Italian: November 2009 to January 2010
  • Korean: February to March 2010
  • Spanish: April to May 2010
  • Greek: June to July 2010
  • Hindi: August to September 2010
  • German: October to November 2010
  • Japanese: December 2010 to February 2011
  • French: March to May  2011
  • Polish: June to August 2011
  • Hebrew: November 2011 to February 2012
  • Dutch: February to March 2012
  • Portuguese: July to October 2012
  • Mandarin: November 2012 to April 2013
  • Irish: May to June 2013
  • Yiddish: July to August 2013
  • Persian: May to August 2014

Ellen has a wonderful sense of humor (and a great deal of patience for my corny jokes!) and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her about all things language. I hope you enjoy listening to the conversation as much as enjoyed recording it.

More Info

Make sure to check out Ellen’s excellent website, EllenJovin.com, for an extensive range of language product reviews.


Complete transcripts are coming soon. Enter your email below to be notified when they are available.


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