The Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences is pleased to invite you to a lecture by  

 

Professor J. K. Chambers (University of Toronto)

http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~chambers/  

 

 

Talking Heads: Television and Your Language

Time: 2 p.m. on Thursday, December 3, 2009

Place: Budapest VI. Bencz˙r u. 33.

 

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Multilingualism and Nationalism (with a Canadian bias)

Time: 1:30 p.m. on Friday, December 4, 2009

Place: Budapest VI. Bencz˙r u. 33.

 

 

 

Multilingualism and Nationalism (with a Canadian bias)

 

In the twenty-first century, immigration is the norm in all developed nations. In Canada, it has been the norm for more than two centuries. As a result, today Canada is a multilingual and multicultural nation, and Toronto is probably the most multilingual and multicultural city in the world. In theory, these are not necessarily positive developments. Demographic research shows adverse economic trends correlated with multilingualism. Ignored in the demographers' equation, however, are social policies. Those policies determine immigrant participation on a continuum from integration at one end to marginalization at the other. Social and economic well-being appears to be sensitive to the differences. With immigration as a global norm for the first time in history, some linguistic issues take on greater urgency. One is the Literacy Gap, which disadvantages second-language immigrant groups but is (at least partly) correctable by social reforms. The other is the persistence of immigrant languages beyond the second generation, which carries sociolinguistic implications we are just beginning to see.  

 

Talking Heads: Television and Your Language

 

Mass media, especially television, broadcast dialects and accents into the most remote corners of the world. People assume that television talk influences language change by transmitting dialect differences across great distances. When we seek hard evidence the case is not at all clear. Certainly the media disseminate vocabulary items - mainly fashionable slang and buzzwords. But phonology and grammar, the deeper levels of the language faculty, seem to be impervious to media influence. I will look at sociolinguistic analyses of case studies for evidence of media exposure as a factor in language change. Recent psycholinguistic evidence adds new weight to the ineffectuality of media as an agent of language change. The results contradict strongly- held convictions about the influence of mass media on our behaviour.

 

ALL ARE WELCOME