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linguistics

Compressed Course: "Mapping Variation: An Introduction to the Use of Geospatial Tools for Linguistic Analysis" (A&S 500-003)

This one-week, one-credit compressed course focuses on mapping variation through the use of geospatial tools like GIS.  The course, offered as A&S 500-003, will take place from November 9-13 from 5-8pm each day in the Oliver Raymond Building, room C226.  As a 500-level course, it is open to both graduate and undergraduate students.

Dr. Montgomery's research investigates ways of integrating techniques used in geography with those traditionally used in dialectology.  His specific focus in the use of GIS technologies is innovative in the field of linguistics, and his presence on UK's campus will expose the community here to some of the most recent endeavors in these kinds of digital humanities research methodologies.  Despite a focus in linguistic variation, this class will present methods that could be applied to many of the social sciences and humanities, wherein the questions deal with societal patterns, variations in those patterns, and the geospatial presentation and analysis of data related to those patterns.  If you have any questions about this course, please contact Dr. Jennifer Cramer (jennifer.cramer@uky.edu).

Date:
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Location:
Oliver H Raymond Building, Room C226
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Public Lecture: "The Basque Language and People – intriguing origins, complex context"

Basque, a minority language spoken in a region straddling the border between Northeastern Spain and Southwestern France, has fascinated linguists and nonlinguists alike for centuries. Part of the mystique surrounding the language is the perception that it is an 'old language': it is an isolate with no demonstrable genealogical relationship with any other language, and has been spoken in the Basque Country for over 2,000 years, a surprising fact given its minority status. This puzzlement about Basque has led many to look for connections to languages spoken in places as far apart from the Basque Country and each other as the Caucasus, India, and North America, or to claim that Basque is the remnant of a language family that was spoken in a much larger area than it is now.

One of the goals of this talk is to demystify Basque, concentrating on a fact often overlooked by those not familiar with the language, namely, that it has been in continuous contact with other languages, especially with Latin and its descendant Romance languages for the last 2,000 years or so. This contact situation has had profound effects, both on the language itself and on its social status, as well as on our scholarly understanding of the structure of the language. On the one hand, the study of the influence that Latin and Romance languages have had on Basque has been one of the main tools that have allowed Basque linguists to elucidate certain aspects of the structure of the language as it was spoken about 2,000 years ago, a scholarly accomplishment that would probably not have been possible if Basque hadn't been in such a contact situation. On the other hand, it would be impossible to understand the current situation of Basque as a minority language without an understanding of its relation to the majority languages spoken in the Basque Country (Spanish and French).

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Location:
UKAA Auditorium (W.T. Young Library)
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Public Lecture: "The Romani People and Their European Context"

Although the Romani language originated in India, it took its definitive shape in Europe. In this sense, the Romani people are as European as many other peoples who arrived in Europe during the Middle Ages, such as the Hungarians. This lecture will discuss the history and cultures of the Romani people and their place in discourses of Europe and nationhood.

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Location:
UKAA Auditorium (W.T. Young Library)
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Public Lecture: "Celtic Languages in Historical and Contemporary Perspective"

From the mystique of the Arthurian Romances with its knights, swords and Camelot, to the scenes of contemporary Neo-Druids holding their white-robed ceremonies at Stonehenge, or the macabre images of the Wicker man, burning to propitiate the ancient gods, the Celts have about them an aura of the mysterious, the romantic, the sinister. Even among linguists the Celtic languages have something of a reputation for being "exotic" with their strange word orders and initial consonant mutations. Yet the current social status and future prospects of the Celtic languages are far less romantic and exotic, for indeed, like many or even most of the minority languages of the planet, the Celtic languages are all endangered, to one degree or another, as their speakers embrace a present and future that looks more successful through the lens of English or French. In this talk we will explore some of this ground together, from the record of the Celts in Antiquity to the current position of their languages as endangered languages of western Europe.

Date:
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Location:
J.F. Hardymon Theater (Davis Marksbury Building)
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Public Lecture: " 'Germanness' and the Forced State Resettlement of Russian Citizens of German Descent in WWI"

In fall 1914, as the Kaiser’s armies invaded towns in the western territories of the Imperial Russian Empire known as Russian Poland (now eastern Poland and southern Lithuania), the Russian government, for the first time, forcibly exiled thousands its own citizens in the region into interior Russia, declaring them a suspect group. The exiles consisted mainly of virtually the entire minority population of Russian Germans in Russian Poland. The ancestors of most had been Russian subjects for at least a century, and many of the exiles had served in the Imperial Russian Army themselves, some as career officers. The Council of Ministers in St. Petersburg, however, feared that this population held loyalties to the German lands and would collaborate with the German armies.

The Russian provincial military police were assigned the task of rounding up all “Germans”, confiscating their property, and putting them on overcrowded trains to Kazan and other interior Russian towns that were not equipped to handle the enormous influx of migrants from Russian Poland. This task caused the police much concern, because many individuals who spoke Polish with their families at home and considered themselves Polish had German surnames. Moreover, some individuals with Polish, Lithuanian, or Russian surnames had been baptized in German-language Lutheran churches. A rich trove of formerly secret police files on the resettlement of the Russian Germans, kept earlier at the Museum of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) in Moscow and now located in the National Historical Museum of Lithuania and the Pułtusk Historical Archive in Poland, contains a great deal of internal police correspondence on what criteria should be followed for identifying an individual as “German” for purposes of the resettlement of Russian Germans. Based on the police correspondence, witness statements in treason investigations, and a first-hand report in the archives by a Russian police officer trapped in the Kałwaria during the German occupation, this presentation covers the criterion for “Germanness” that was eventually issued by the Russian Council of Ministers, the self-identity of those who were officially identified as “German”, and the perceptions of their Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian, Jewish, and Russian neighbors regarding their political loyalties. 

Cynthia Vakareliyska holds a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, and is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Oregon, where she teaches Slavic and general linguistics. Her research specialization are historical Slavic linguistics and medieval Slavic manuscript studies. Her 2008 book The Curzon Gospel received the 2009 AATSEEL book prize for Slavic linguistics, the 2009 Bulgarian Studies Association book prize, and the 2010 Early Slavic Studies Distinguished Scholarship award. Her most recent book, Lithuanian Root List, is in press with Slavica Publishers. She is currently writing a book on the Russian Germans in Russian Poland, based on her study of archive documents in Lithuanian and Polish archives over the past 15 years.

 

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Location:
Lexmark Room (Main Building)
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"It’s not just a drawl, y’all: Fact vs. fiction in Kentucky speech" (student documentary film on Kentucky English) mrlaue2

Rough cut viewing about a half hour in length of a UK-student-created documentary film, followed by a panel discussion.  Viewing and discussion are open to the public, so bring a friend or two!

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Location:
Center Theater (Old Student Center)
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