Can the airport stay multilingual?

Loving Language

Airports are great for languages. How do we use them to teach?

I recently blogged about traveling through the Denver airport, and the languages that I saw there. Last week I had a different experience at my own local airport, MSP, Minnesota-St Paul. I spoke Somali, Oromo, and Amharic, while I heard a family conversation in Russian and a few phrases of Turkish. An international airport is a treasure-hunt and a paradise for language-lovers.

The airline was sending everyone through the kiosks, so an employee was helping folks get through the check-in process. I noticed the member of a Somali family come through. Sure enough, the airline employee was Somali, and helped the woman through the whole process in Somali. When it was my turn, the same man helped me in English, but we spoke some Somali, too.

When I got to the counter to drop my bags, I found…

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