Media Mentions February 2024

Media Mentions February 2024

The latest media mentions, quotes, profiles, and writings from Division of the Humanities faculty, students, staff, and alumni. Visit us on X, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook for more updates

A língua de Darwin ou a linguagem em estado de permanente evolução
In this interview, Salikoko S. Mufwene (Linguistics) explains how evolutionary theory as developed in biology applies to languages. According to him, “Speaking of the evolution of language is not a metaphor,” provided one realizes that the parallel in biology should be viruses, not animals. Using the Darwinian model of competition and selection, one can explain more adequately how new languages emerge and current ones change, speciate, die, or thrive in situations of contacts. A challenge is to determine what the relevant ecology is and how it rolls the dice in specific ecosystems.

On the emergence of creoles and their vitality
Paris Noir
In this interview, Salikoko S. Mufwene (Linguistics) explains how Creole language varieties have emerged and why they should not be considered evolutionary deviations from other, presumably "normal" languages. They remind us of what has been overlooked in traditional accounts of the evolution of the other languages. In the specific case of the Romance languages, Prof. Mufwene references an article he published in 2015: "L'émergence des parlers créoles et l'évolution des langues romanes : faits, mythes et idéologies.”

Le français est une langue hybride
Bastille Magazine
Salikoko S. Mufwene (Linguistics) highlights several myths about whether French is endangered by English and how it holds a central position in the multilingual Francophone world, and whether it emerged in a different way from Creoles. He shows how his research on the emergence of creoles has reshaped his interpretation of the evolution of structures of other languages, typically by hybridization. Prof. Mufwene has been appointed to the "Chaire Mondes Francophones" at the Collège de France, in Paris, for this academic year.

South Shore Pizzeria With Jazz, Bronzeville Art Gallery Approved For City Grants
Block Club Chicago
Amber Ginsburg (Visual Arts) leads The Narrow Bridge Arts Club, a project that received a $250,000 Winter 2024 Development City Grant to renovate the former Champlain Avenue synagogue and church into “a carbon-positive gathering space for artists and makers.”

Just like viruses, languages adapt to their hosts
Collège de France
In this interview, Salikoko S. Mufwene (Linguistics) discusses the ecological perspective on linguistic evolution, drawing parallels between the behaviors of languages and viruses. In his metaphor, languages, much like viruses, are transmitted horizontally among individuals, adapting and evolving through social and economic interactions. Prof. Mufwene's research delves into the impacts of European colonization and the emergence of Creole languages, challenging historical misconceptions about language superiority, and showing how modern languages result from language contacts.

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March 12, 2024