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SEMINAR: The End: how a language dies

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Today's date is Wednesday, May 19, 2021
The End: how a language dies Other events...

What Tolstoy wrote about happy and unhappy families applies equally to languages: all living languages are alike; each dying language is dying in its own way. Because the death of a language is a particular death, the death of this language and not some other one, the story of its demise has to be a specific story. For the past thirty years I have conducted research on an isolate Papuan language in the lower Sepik region of Papua New Guinea. The language, called Tayap, is dying; it currently has fewer than fifty active speakers. My talk will discuss how Tayap is disappearing; both in terms of the social and cultural factors that inexorably are leading to its passing, and also in terms of the grammar of the language itself, as it dissolves in the speech of young people who attempt to speak it.

Short bio

Don Kulick is Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology at Uppsala University, Sweden, where he directs the Engaging Vulnerability research program. He has published widely on sociolinguistics, gender and sexuality studies, disability studies, queer theory and animal studies. His most recent books are A Grammar and Dictionary of Tayap: the life and death of a Papuan language (with Angela Terrill, Mouton de Gruyter), and A Death in the Rainforest: how a language and a way of life came to an end in Papua New Guinea (Algonquin Books), both from last year.
Speaker(s) Prof Don Kulick
Location Social Sciences 2.63
Contact Maļa Ponsonnet <[email protected]>
Start Fri, 06 Mar 2020 12:30
End Fri, 06 Mar 2020 14:00
Submitted by Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Last Updated Tue, 03 Mar 2020 11:54
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