The Grammar of Knowledge
International Workshop 'The Grammar of Knowledge', 16-21 July 2012
Australia has been proclaimed 'The Knowledge Nation'. But, what is knowledge? Fifteen leading experts from across the world will assemble at James Cook University to throw light on this issue.
The Research Centre for Language and Culture within the Cairns Institute has organised a symposium 'The Grammar of Knowledge'. Eminent linguists and anthropologists, who have spent years living amongst tribal peoples, will share their insights.
Different ethnic groups view the world in their own special ways. Scattered across the Americas and Eurasia are dozens of languages which require specification of the nature of evidence for every statement made. In these languages, one cannot just say 'The dog ate the fish'. One has to add a little wor d which says whether you saw this happen, or heard it, or inferred it, or was told about it by someone else.
If this applied in English, wouldn't it make the job of our police force so much easier? And how might it embarrass politicians!
Distinguished Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald, organiser of the Symposium, will present an overview on how knowledge is expressed in languages across the world.
In many Indigenous languages of Australia, there is a requirement to be as precise as possible. One cannot just say 'I saw a snake', but should state what kind of snake it was. (After all, this may be a matter of life and death).
Professor Bob Dixon, world-famed expert on Australian languages, will talk about Dyirbal, spoken between Cardwell and Malanda in North Queensland. For everything talked about, one must say whether it is 'visible and here' or 'visible and there', or 'not visible'.
Anyone interested in the nature of knowledge is most welcome to attend!
The Cairns Institute
Building A4 Room 244 James Cook University
P: +61 7 4042 1887 F: +61 7 4042 1880