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LINGUISTICS_DEPARTMENT

Adulterous Woman to Be Eaten by Dogs

Professor Stephanie W. Jamison will present "Adulterous Woman to Be Eaten by Dogs: Women and Law in Ancient India" at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, in ARH Room 102.

Jamison will introduce the textual sources for women and law in ancient India and suggest some ways in which they can be used to produce a fuller picture of women’s roles in this period.

In particular, she says "we will examine the apparent paradox: that acknowledging more agency on the part of women is accompanied by a more and more misogynistic attitude towards them. The legal provisions about adultery, with their sometimes-colorful punishments, provide a useful focus for this investigation."

Jamison was trained as a historical and Indo-European linguist, but for many years has concentrated on Indo-Iranian, especially (Vedic) Sanskrit and Middle Indo-Aryan languages and textual materials. She works not only on language and linguistics, but also literature and poetics, religion and law, mythology and ritual, and gender studies in these languages, and she is interested in comparative mythology and poetics, especially with Greek materials.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from Conference Operations and Events.

 

Translating the Rig Veda

Published set of the Rig VedaThe Rig Veda, the oldest Sanskrit text, remains one of its most challenging and enigmatic. Consisting of over a thousand intricate praise hymns dedicated to a variety of divinities, it showcases the work of its many poets, who proudly display their skill and verbal trickery in service of their gods and mortal patrons.

These poets are inheritors of the Indo-Iranian and Indo-European poetic tradition, but they also are self-conscious innovators and manipulators of that tradition. The boast "I make new the song born of old" (RV III.31.19), one of many such statements in the text, encapsulates this dual focus.

Professor Stephanie W. Jamison will present a “Discussion on Translating the Rig Veda” at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, in ARH Room 120.

Jamison was trained as a historical and Indo-European linguist, but for many years has concentrated on Indo-Iranian, especially (Vedic) Sanskrit and Middle Indo-Aryan languages and textual materials.

She works not only on language and linguistics, but also literature and poetics, religion and law, mythology and ritual, and gender studies in these languages, and she is also interested in comparative mythology and poetics, especially with Greek materials.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from Conference Operations and Events.

Babel No More

Journalist and author Michael Erard will present a free public talk on “Finding the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners (and Other Stories)” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 102.

Erard says his second book, Babel No More: The Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Language Learners, is the account of his “search for the person who could speak the most languages in the world and [his] attempt to understand what that means, both for science and for the rest of us,” and “it is a search for the upper limits of the ability to learn, speak, and use languages.”

His first book, Um…: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean, is a natural history of slips of the tongue, speech disfluencies, and other things we wish we didn’t say (but do).

Erard describes his books as “serious non-fiction that could also be classified as ‘pop linguistics’ and popular science,” and “put a narrative backbone into serious, but fragmented, research into everyday language phenomena.”

Erard’s works have been published in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Science, Wired, Nautilus, Slate, The Atlantic, New Scientist, Reason, The Morning News, and many other magazines and newspapers.

Erard’s talk is sponsored by the Linguistics Concentration.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. ARH is wheelchair accessible. Automatic door operators are located on the southeast and southwest sides. Accessible parking is available along Park Street. Accommodations can be requested from the event sponsor or Conference Operations.

 

The Deed of Word

The Deed of Word

Describing his course to first-years, Angelo Mercado says:

Human language: what is it? And its parts?

Its rules, the things that we acquire unthinking?

Now, how do poets fashion speech into art?

Students in this course will be exploring

linguistic aspects of poetry, like rhyme,

rhythm, and structures of varying complexity.

We’ll look at other traditions at the same time,

but English will be our focus primarily.

On up to sentence from syllable and sound,

students shall invent for language a theory

and for linguistic poetics, and look around

at how other scholars answer the query.

Language Contact

 

What happens when languages collide?

Students in Cynthia Hansen’s Language Contact special topics course examine the linguistic varieties and practices that emerge when linguistically diverse groups come in contact with one another. 

In the course, students explore the types of situations that give rise to language contact, and then look at the linguistic effects that result from such contact at both the micro (e.g. borrowing, code-switching) and the macro (e.g. language shift, language death) level.