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Memory Speaks: The challenge of nurturing our whole linguistic selves
The university community brings together people from a stunning diversity of linguistic backgrounds, including languages other than English as well as the many different varieties of English spoken in the United States and abroad. But within the university, a culture of monolingualism prevails, and many of us find our lives linguistically fragmented: we lean heavily on the standard English in which university life takes place while relegating our other languages to separate, and often shrinking, spaces in our lives. This dynamic echoes ones that exist more broadly in our society, with the result that, for many people, geographic or social mobility entails a disconnection from languages or dialects that are intensely meaningful to them.

In this talk, Julie Sedivy, the author of the book "Memory Speaks", will explore some of the social and psychological forces by which the dominant language in a society comes to drown out the other languages of its citizens. Sedivy will address the costs of such disconnection, ranging from the personal costs of language attrition and loss of identity, to the societal costs of missed opportunities for developing skills for navigating multilingual environments, to the existential costs of language extinction. She will explore alternatives to a culture of monolingualism, and what these might look like in the university setting.

Book: "Memory Speaks: On Losing and Reclaiming Language and Self". 2021. Harvard University Press.
Author: Julie Sedivy

Agenda:
. Public lecture: 1-2pm,
. Workshop/discussion: 2-3pm

The Zoom link for the event will be emailed after registration.

Jan 28, 2022 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Julie Sedivy
Dr. Julie Sedivy is a language scientist and writer. She spent 12 years as a faculty member with an active lab in the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences at Brown University. For the past decade, she has devoted most of her time to writing and editing work ranging from popular science writing, blogs, literary essays, and even poetry. Her most recent book, Memory Speaks, blends memoir and science writing, and she is currently at work on a book of essays revolving around language's trajectory in the human mind over the course of a lifespan.