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These Trash Collectors Put the 'Cycle' in Recycling

Also:  A question from China about Pig Latin. And music from Rosanne Cash’s new album. Transcript of radio broadcast:


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.


I'm Doug Johnson.

Today, we play music from a new album by Rosanne Cash …

And answer a question about the strange secret language called Pig Latin …

But first, we tell about a business that provides non-polluting transport services.


Pedal People


On Monday, leaders from around the world will meet in Denmark for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. But locally, people are working every day to improve the health of the planet in smaller ways. Pedal People in Northampton, Massachusetts, has found an inventive way of transporting goods and services without creating pollution. Mario Ritter tells us more.


Pedal People calls itself a worker-owned, human-powered transport service. It was started in two thousand two by Ruthy Woodring and Alex Jarrett. The city of Northampton does not provide trash and recycling pick-up services.

So, Mister Jarrett would take his recycling materials to the local center himself using his bicycle and a trailer. He and Miz Woodring thought that other people in town might pay them to remove trash and recycling materials instead of using a private trash company that uses trucks.

The two wanted to use bicycles as transport because they believe strongly in human power. They do not like the idea of depending on vehicles that use gasoline. They created Pedal People as a way to create a useful service that helps the local economy and is environmentally friendly. Miz Woodring says she enjoys bicycling everywhere. She can get to know her neighborhoods paths, enjoy the trees and experience the changes in weather.

Today, Pedal People has twelve workers. More than four hundred people pay for their services. And, the city of Northampton is one of their biggest customers.

The eleven owners of Pedal People not only pick up and remove trash and recycling. They also remove large objects such as washing machines, beds and refrigerators. The workers use trailer devices which link to their bicycles and can carry up to about one hundred thirty kilos. They also pick up and transport food to home owners. And, they provide gardening services that are environmentally friendly. They do all this work year-round, even during the cold and snowy winter months in Massachusetts.

We asked Ben Winter how he came to work for Pedal People. He said he has always been interested in different ways of making a living. He said at first he just thought the idea of Pedal People was really cool. Now he says it has also become a rewarding livelihood.

Pig Latin


Our question this week comes from China. Yuqi Cao wants to know about the strange language called Pig Latin, or Igpay Atinlay in Pig Latin.

First of all, how Pig Latin got its name is a mystery. The language has nothing to do with farm animals or ancient Rome. Pig Latin is simply minor changes that are made to words to make a funny, secret language.

In traditional Pig Latin, the first consonant sound of a word is moved to the end of the word and then an -ay is added to that.

So, pig becomes igpay. Latin becomes atinlay. Some words start with vowels. So, these words just get an -ay, or sometimes a -way, sound on the end. Ant becomes antay or antway, excellent changes to excellentay, and so on.

Sometimes children use Pig Latin. They can share information with their friends without their parents, or other adults, knowing what they are saying.

For example, you might hear the following in a school hallway around examination time:

"Eatgray ewsnay, udesday! Eganmay otgay ethay answersway otay ethay esttay extnay eekway!" or:

"Great news, dudes! Megan got the answers to the test next week!"

Of course, all adults were once children. And Pig Latin is hardly new. Journalist John Hailman wrote that President Thomas Jefferson wrote whole letters to friends using Pig Latin in the early eighteen hundreds. So, it is probably not the safest secret language for those really private talks.

Pig Latin is not the only coded language that children use. Gibberish adds the sound dduguh to every syllable of each word. So, hello becomes heddugell-uddugo.


She said: "Gibberish is tricky but worth it. Fewer people know it than Pig Latin."

Reporter Caty Weaver learned Gibberish and another secret language, called Ibeese, in middle school. She and her best friend still use it, especially when they do not want their children to know what they are talking about.


Rosanne Cash


Rosanne Cash is a singer and songwriter best known as a country musician. But her songs are also influenced by rock and pop music. Her latest album, "The List," is based on advice given to Rosanne by her father, the country music great Johnny Cash. Katherine Cole tells us more.


When Rosanne Cash was eighteen years old, she was traveling with her father on a performance tour. They started talking about well known country and folk songs. Johnny Cash realized that his daughter did not know many of his favorite songs. So, he sat in the back of the bus and spent the rest of the afternoon making a list of one hundred important songs. These were the songs he felt his daughter had to know. He told her that the songs would be her education.

Rosanne Cash's latest album, "The List", features twelve of the songs her father chose for her thirty-five years ago. Here is the nineteen fifty song "I'm Movin' On", written by Hank Snow.


Rosanne Cash says she made a point of learning most of the songs on her father's list. But then she moved on to have a successful career performing her own songs. In two thousand five, she found the list again and realized it was time to record some of the songs. Here is "Long Black Veil," first released in nineteen fifty-nine.


Rosanne Cash asked singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen to perform one song with her on the album. We leave you with their version of the nineteen sixty-one hit "Sea of Heartbreak."



I'm Doug Johnson. Our program was written by Dana Demange and Caty Weaver, who was also the producer. For transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs, go to You can also comment on our programs.

Do you have a question about people, places or things in America? Send it to mosaic@voanews.comand we may answer it on this show.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.