Lingua Franca should continue: Heinrich Stefanik | radioinfo

Lingua Franca should continue: Heinrich Stefanik

Sunday 16 December, 2012

A linguist and community radio broadcaster puts the case for why one of RN's axed programs should be retained.


Heinrich Stefanik is well known as one of the key figures at Canberra’s ethnic community radio station 1CMS FM, and a leader in the ethnic community radio sector.

His passion is understanding language and linguistics and he is disappointed that Radio National has dropped Lingua Franca as part of its 2013 line up changes.

In a complaint letter to ABC Radio National, Stefanik put the case for the program to be retained, but the response from RN’s Michael Mason did not leave him feeling hopeful.

The correspondence from both Stefanik and Mason is below.


Dear ABC:

This is the first time ever (in 50 years of listening to you) that I feel moved to write and complain.

Please continue Lingua Franca, a very informative and entertaining program.

Yes, language is part of arts - but language is not confined to books, films or stage. Language matters do not play a bit part in the arts.

Language is around us everywhere and everyday, it shapes our perception of reality continously and helps us vent our emotions non-stop - not just at particular high points.

Lingua Franca should continue, and beyond that even widen its reach to serve the ABC audiences interested in human language per se - including interfaces with neuroscience, psychology, cognition, information technology, communication sciences, philosophy, rhetoric, bilingualism, multilingual societies, personal and national identity, geopolitics, cultural evolution... etc. etc.

Saving some money in this area just when the Federal Government is announcing a major development in language policy ("every school child shoud have access to an Asian language") is erratic. It is precisely NOW that more people need to know MORE about language issues, to fully understand what we as a nation are about to embark on as we finally emerge from the glasshouse of monolingualism and engage in serious dialogue with the rest of the world. And that world is a very noisy and fractious multilingual place.

We need more of Lingua Franca - not less.


Dr Heinrich Stefanik OAM


And the reply:


Dear Dr Stefanik

Thank you for your recent correspondence to the ABC regarding Lingua Franca.

We have now formally decommissioned Lingua Franca. While the program has provided an important depth of exploration into words and their usage, we feel that the time has come to find different ways of energising the way we deal with the subject.

We are aware of how passionately our audience feels about language and words. We will continue to explore this area on Books and Arts Daily and Weekend Arts.

We plan to commission one off segments from the wider linguistic community to offer fresh insights on aspects of language. These will be broadcast and offered as podcastable segments.

Thank you for taking the time to write, and for your interest in Radio National.

Yours sincerely

Michael Mason

Manager, Radio National

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