24th SWAHILI COLLOQUIUM, University of Bayreuth, from 03 June to 05 June 2011

The Swahili Colloquium
The Swahili Colloquium has become a well-established forum in Bayreuth. Every year, we invite scholars and researchers from different disciplines, who work on various aspects of the language and the respective culture(s) to this unique colloquium. The multidisciplinary approach and the wide range of contributions from linguistics, literary studies to anthropology and history particularly account for the appeal of the colloquium. We are always looking forward to welcoming you all including new participants at the Swahili Colloquium. 

This year’s thematic focus
The 24th Swahili Colloquium will have a special thematic focus on ‘Swahili and Modernity’. This thematic focus suggests a concentration on modernising processes rooted in the 20th century, and essentially implies a perspective of change. It is an approach that promises interesting interdisciplinary discussions, as it can be fruitfully applied to linguistic change(s),
in considerations of innovations in the literary field mirroring fundamental social changes as well as in studies of social and cultural transformations. Although we would

like to suggest ‘Swahili and Modernity’ as a common point of discussion, this does not mean that we will not consider papers dealing with other topics, as the Swahili Colloquium tries not only to stimulate thematically-oriented interdisciplinary discussions, but also intends to provide a forum open to various contributions related to Swahili.  

We would like to ask you to give your paper either in Swahili or English. Each contribution will be granted 30 minutes (including ten minutes of discussion). Please register via email (to swahili@uni-bayreuth.de) and send us the title as well as a short abstract of your presentation till 30 March 2011. If your presentation is going to be in Swahili, we kindly ask you for a short English summary. Please also register if you merely intend to participate without giving a paper. 

If you have any questions, please, do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us via the following email address: swahili@uni-bayreuth.de
We are looking forward to welcoming you at the 24th Swahili Colloquium in Bayreuth.  
Kind regards, 
Prof. Gabriele Sommer, Dr. des. Clarissa Vierke, Prof. Said A. M. Khamis


16.02.2011 | by nadinesiegert | Conference, language, SWAHILI

Does Your Language Shape How You Think?

Horacio Salinas for The New York TimesHoracio Salinas for The New York TimesSeventy years ago, in 1940, a popular science magazine published a short article that set in motion one of the trendiest intellectual fads of the 20th century. At first glance, there seemed little about the article to augur its subsequent celebrity. Neither the title, “Science and Linguistics,” nor the magazine, M.I.T.’s Technology Review, was most people’s idea of glamour. And the author, a chemical engineer who worked for an insurance company and moonlighted as an anthropology lecturer at Yale University, was an unlikely candidate for international superstardom. And yet Benjamin Lee Whorf let loose an alluring idea about language’s power over the mind, and his stirring prose seduced a whole generation into believing that our mother tongue restricts what we are able to think.

In particular, Whorf announced, Native American languages impose on their speakers a picture of reality that is totally different from ours, so their speakers would simply not be able to understand some of our most basic concepts, like the flow of time or the distinction between objects (like “stone”) and actions (like “fall”). For decades, Whorf’s theory dazzled both academics and the general public alike. In his shadow, others made a whole range of imaginative claims about the supposed power of language, from the assertion that Native American languages instill in their speakers an intuitive understanding of Einstein’s concept of time as a fourth dimension to the theory that the nature of the Jewish religion was determined by the tense system of ancient Hebrew.

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28.08.2010 | by martalanca | language