Saving languages

Aipe aalangka!

Not sure how to respond? Perhaps you should attend Dr Mark Post’s linguistics seminar.

Dr Post, based at James Cook University in Cairns, researches mainland Southeast Asian languages, focusing on the Tani branch of Tibeto-Burman, and on other under-studied languages of the Eastern Himalayan region.

As part of JCU’s Celebrating Research series, he will present a free public seminar on Friday, 23 September.

“In many parts of the world, languages are disappearing faster than we can even record them,” Dr Post said.

“This loss of human cultural-linguistic diversity mirrors similar reductions in biodiversity, and has similar underlying causes.”

Dr Post’s seminar will explain what linguists do in their fieldwork, documenting and describing often endangered languages.

“Languages tell us a great deal about how and where people live. Every time we lose a human language we lose a unique way of understanding, representing and communicating.

“To document languages, linguists travel to remote areas of the world in which languages of incredible beauty and complexity are spoken, often in isolated pockets, largely unbeknownst to anyone but the speakers themselves.

“We live and work with communities over periods of years, documenting and analysing their languages, and working together with community members on conservation and revitalisation measures.”

Dr Post’s seminar will be held in the JCU Library (room 031) from 2.00 to 4.00 pm on Friday, 23 September. Refreshments will be served at The Boathouse from 4.00pm to 5.00pm.

Admission is free but participants are asked to register at beforehand.

Issued September 13, 2011

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