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The End: how a language dies
posted by Department of Sociology for HKU and Public
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Event Details

The End: how a language dies
Speaker: Professor Don Kulick

What Tolstoy wrote about happy and unhappy families applies equally to languages: all living languages are alike; each dying language is dying in its own way. Because the death of a language is a particular death, the death of this language and not some other one, the story of its demise has to be a specific story. For the past thirty years I have conducted research on an isolate Papuan language in the lower Sepik region of Papua New Guinea. The language, called Tayap, is dying; it currently has fewer than 50 active speakers. I am writing a book that documents the reasons for the death of Tayap, and in this seminar I will present material from that book.

Biography
Don Kulick is Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology at Uppsala University in Sweden, where he directs a large research program titled “Engaging Vulnerability”. He has conducted long-term fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Brazil, and Scandinavia, and has published in a number of fields, including linguistic anthropology, sexuality and gender studies, and disability studies. His books include Language Shift and Cultural Reproduction: socialization, self and syncretism in a Papua New Guinean village (1990); Travesti: sex, gender and culture among Brazilian transgendered prostitutes (1998); Fat: the anthropology of an obsession (2005, with Anne Meneley); and Loneliness and its Opposite: sex, disability and the ethics of engagement (2015, with Jens Rydström).

This event is jointly organized by the Department of Sociology and the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong

Date/Time27/04/2017 16:30-18:30
VenueMay Hall’s Lecture Hall, HKU
LanguageEnglish

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Contact Information

Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact Executive Assistant Connie Ko by email at connieko@hku.hk or by phone at 3917 2309.