Speaking in tongues

Lingua in mundo nostro velociter mutat. Genti movir mucho mucho, necessari trovar hablar novo. If du non parler same sprache, bisognar invent lisan!

Three sentences, each written in a dead language, or at least in a language that is not alive (but do languages really breathe, eat and move about the world as autonomous living beings)? Three sentences: the first in Latin; the second in the lingua franca spoken in the early modern Mediterranean; the third in Europanto, a language invented by Diego Marani to answer the challenge of linguistic complexity in contemporary Europe. Dr. Marani will speak at CES on Thursday as our Distinguished Lecturer on Europe and our contribution to the LSA Language theme semester. We invite the U-M community to join us – to think together about languages, common and uncommon.

Languages are only as alive as the tongues that speak them (or the fingers that text them). In recent years, human mobility and new media have inspired the creation of new languages, from Globish to Spanglish to 3Arabizi. The image above (from a current exhibition at Hatcher Graduate Library) shows the Arabic language learning new tricks: Arabic written in the Latin alphabet, for the purpose of texting or facebooking. Evviva hablar jadid!

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