Lecture to focus on diversity of languages

Alex Hanson

A lecture set for Monday night will focus on the diversity of world languages, information about them and how they came to be.

Asya Pereltsvaig, a lecturer in the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University, will present the Quentin Johnson Lecture in Linguistics Monday night at 8 p.m. in Sun Room of the Memorial Union.

With over 7,000 languages in the world, the lecture will focus on how that many languages and variety of them developed.

Other questions the lecture will discuss: “How do languages evolve, and why do some of them disappear, often without a trace? How can languages spoken today be mined for information about deep human past? What do all human languages have in common and how can we capture the ways in which they differ? And why don’t we all speak the same language?” according to the lectures website.

Pereltsvaig received her PhD in Linguistics from McGill University in Montreal and has taught at Yale, Cornell and Stanford, as well as at several European Universities.

Her areas of specialization include Slavic languages, syntax and typology, and historical linguistics, and her general academic interests include languages, history and genetics, and the relationship between them, according the Lectures website.

Pereltsvaig also co-authored a book, titled Languages of the World: An Introduction and The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics. 

The lecture is sponsored by Linguistics Program at ISU and the Committee on Lectures.