50th Anniversary Public Lectures

Posted on January 29, 2014 by

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Manchester was founded in 1963, and to celebrate fifty years of linguistics at Manchester we’re putting on two lectures aimed at anyone interested in language: students, staff, or general public. The two lectures share a broad theme of language diversity and its implications for policy.

Both lectures will be in February, from 6.30-8pm, in Lecture Theatre A at University Place. From 6pm there will be a Multilingual Manchester exhibition in the Drum Foyer downstairs, and after the lecture itself there will be a wine reception there alongside the exhibition.

On 10th Feb, in collaboration with cities@manchester, we have:
Beyond Multilingualism: Heteroglossia as Pedagogy and Practice
Prof. Adrian Blackledge (University of Birmingham)

This lecture argues that the question of ‘who is speaking which language to whom’ may be insufficient to understand the complexity of communication in superdiverse cities. Analysis of language practices expands our understanding of social diversity when we bring into play voices which index speakers’ localities, social histories, circumstances, and identities.

Then on 19th Feb:

Language Testing of Asylum Seekers
Prof. Peter Patrick (University of Essex)

Language Analysis for Determination of Origin (LADO) is a new branch of applied linguistics, used by governments in processing asylum seekers who are applying for refugee status. As part of testing their claim to come from a certain nation, region or group, some asylum applicants are interviewed by government agencies or commercial contractors seeking to ascertain whether they natively speak the language of a group they say they belong to. Many linguists and some judges have been critical about the standard of expertise used in these cases: Can language testing be done validly and reliably? For which sorts of cases? Are governments employing a useful tool or paying for “bad science”?

The attached flyer has a summary of this information – please feel free to print it out and stick it up in appealing places!