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ESRC Festival of Social Science – Every Language Matters

November 9 2012 @ 12:00 am

Friday, 9 November 2012, 4 – 7 pm

ESRC Festival of Social Science

Every Language Matters

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Room G2, SOAS, College Building, Thornhaugh Street off Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG (http://www.soas.ac.uk/visitors/location/maps/)

This Open Day Language Forum will promote a public understanding of the place that languages hold in the lives of individuals and communities around the world, as well as the role of linguistic research in furthering our understanding of language. Having evolved over thousands of years languages are vital resources for documenting and understanding our biological and cultural diversity. Of the 7000 languages spoken in the world today more than half of them are under threat of extinction within 50 to 100 years.

4 – 5 pm Vanuatu Sand Drawing: languages can have different manifestations
Mike Franjieh, teaching fellow in the Department of Linguistics at SOAS will discuss his research in Vanuatu. He will show how sand drawing is a unique means of communication among the members of the various language groups living in the north of the archipelago. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the technique for themselves.

5 – 5:30 pm A Linguist in the Bush
Why does linguistic fieldwork matter and what happens to languages people speak when their way of life is rapidly changing? Dr. Candide Simard, a senior teaching fellow at SOAS, will share her experience of linguistic fieldwork in Timber Creek, documenting indigenous languages in Northern Australia.

5:30 – 6 pm Language Landscape: mapping language diversity
Samantha Goodchild and Karolina Grzech will present Language Landscape, a website featuring an interactive, user-generated map of the world’s languages. The website was only launched 5 months ago, and already contains songs, poems, nursery rhymes, conversations and recipes from around the world.
The talk will explain the innovative method of language mapping used by Language Landscape, and show how anyone, anywhere can now put their language on the map. There will also be chance to get your voice recorded during the event. (www.languagelandscape.org)

6 – 6:30 pm Preserving Languages and Linguistic Diversity
Professor Peter Austin is Rausing Chair in Field Linguistics and Director of the Endangered Languages Academic Programme at SOAS.  In his talk, he will tell us why all languages matter. He will discuss current issues in the documentation and description of the languages of the world, and how their study matters for our understanding of cultural and linguistic diversity.

6:30 – 7 pm Discussion and closing

This is a free event organised by the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project at SOAS and the Royal Anthropological Institute. Please book your place at www.everylanguagematters.eventsbrite.com or email: film@therai.org.uk

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Details

Date:
November 9 2012
Time:
12:00 am
Event Category: