The Fight to Preserve Endangered Languages in NYC with Ross Perlin

The Fight to Preserve Endangered Languages in NYC with Ross Perlin

Join Language City author and linguist Ross Perlin for a live talk about the endangered languages of NYC and the efforts to preserve them in a city where over 700 languages are spoken! 

  • Discover the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA) where linguists and endangered language speakers work together to preserve threatened mother tongues
  • Hear audio samples of endangered languages collected by the ELA
  • Learn about the 6 speakers highlighted in Language City who speak Seke, N’ko, Lenape, Wakhi, Nahuatl, and Yiddish
  • Uncover dialects and languages that have uniquely developed in New York City
  • Find out what elements threaten the survival of languages and how you can help

About the event:

In this live virtual talk, Ross Perlin will give an inside look at his recently released book, Language City: The Fight to Preserve Endangered Mother Tongues in New York. Insiders will get to take part in the discussion by sending in questions for a live Q&A at the end of our live interview!

In Language City (Atlantic Monthly Press), Perlin paints a portrait of contemporary New York City through six remarkable yet ordinary speakers of little-known languages.

Racing against time to map these overlooked languages across the most linguistically diverse city in history, Perlin recounts the unique history of immigration that shaped New York and dives deep into these six speakers’ communities to learn how they are maintaining and reviving their languages against overwhelming linguistic loss. Perlin also invites us to a fascinating tour of unusual grammars, rare sounds, and powerful cultural histories from all around the world.

Half of all 7,000-plus human languages may disappear over the next century and—because many have never been recorded—when they’re gone, it will be forever.

A century after the anti-immigration Johnson-Reed Act closed America’s doors for decades and on the 400th anniversary of New York’s colonial founding, Perlin raises the alarm about growing political threats and the onslaught of “killer languages” like English and Spanish. Both remarkable social history and testament to the importance of linguistic diversity, LANGUAGE CITY is a joyful and illuminating
exploration of a city and the world that made it.

About Ross Perlin

Ross Perlin is a linguist, writer, and translator focused on exploring and supporting linguistic diversity. His book Language City: The Fight to Preserve Endangered Mother Tongues in New York is out this year from Grove. Since 2013 he has been Co-Director of the Endangered Language Alliance, managing research projects on mapmaking, documentation, policy, and public programming for urban linguistic diversity. He also teaches linguistics at Columbia. His writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe GuardianHarper’s, and elsewhere, and his first book Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy ignited a national conversation about unpaid work.

Attendees will receive a link to join the webinar after completing the registration.

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