Lecture by Mary Pratt, March 18, 2004

Towards an Ecology of Language

by Mary Pratt, Silver Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature, New York University

The idea of societies as custodians of their languages has mainly been associated with elitist ideologies aimed at creating class-based linguistic hierarchies.  Egalitarian thought about language has generally opposed prescriptive views.  This however eliminates the possibility of talking about language as a shared public good, as enmeshed in power relations, and as a resource that can be neglected or abused.  Is it possible to develop custodial approaches to language and linguistic heterogeneity within the framework of democratic civil society?  The aim of this talk will be to facilitate a conversation on this question.

Thursday, March 18, 2004
3:00-5:00pm, B4 Dwinelle Hall