• Charles Häberl
  • Charles Häberl
  • Event Date: 2023-11-07 12:00
  • Scarlet Speakers from the Heart of New Brunswick

Event date: Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Event time: 12-1pm

Most of human knowledge is stored not in books, or computers, or even Wikipedia, but rather in the minds of ordinary people the world around. In many cases, the languages in which this knowledge is encoded are spoken by as few as a dozen people and will almost certainly be lost with the passing of these languages and their speakers. By some estimates, fully 90% or more of the world’s languages will have disappeared by the end of the century.

The lecture will introduce the value of “local” non-standard forms of language, and the critical threat to intellectual diversity posed by their disappearance, as well as the philosophical and other theoretical issues surrounding the topic of language endangerment. Such local languages serve as witnesses both to specific traditions and to human knowledge more broadly, and with the disappearance of each local language the store of human knowledge becomes progressively more impoverished.