Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jonathan Hsy, "Ecolinguistics in Theory and Practice"

Please join us this Friday January 23 at 3 PM in Rome Hall 771 (801 22nd St NW) for GW's own Jonathan Hsy, "Ecolinguistics in Theory and Practice." Reception to follow. A description of the talk is below.

This presentation considers how medievalists can intervene in ecolinguistics, a burgeoning interdisciplinary field attending to the dynamic relationship between language and environment (physical and cultural). On a conceptual level, ecolinguistics rethinks implicit biological metaphors that ground disciplines of philology, linguistics, and literary study (linguistic “trees” and stemma); thinking about languages as mobile organisms rather than a rooted plants offers a more flexible approach to how languages behave in complex adaptive systems or transform over time. In this talk, I examine how medieval linguistic theory speaks to modern-day approaches to "language death" and indigenous language preservation. I also ask how ecoloinguistics alters our understanding of the "deep time" of linguistic origins and the animacies of language itself.

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