18th International Congress of Linguists, Seoul, 21-26/7/2008

Don Osborn dzo at bisharat.net
Fri Jun 27 02:50:55 UTC 2008

Just caught up with this item from April concerning this "CIL 18" conference
on the theme of "Unity and Diversity of Languages" in Seoul, on July 21-26.
Will any of you be attending? The conference site is http://www.cil18.org/ 

Korea Times
"Linguists to Gather in Seoul in July"
By Kim Rahn
Staff Reporter

What if your mother tongue disappears due to a dearth of users? It may be no
less than being deprived of the right to live, according to Hong Chai-song,
the head of the Linguistic Society of Korea.

To tackle the issue of minority languages facing endangerment, linguists
from all around the world will gather in Seoul for the 18th International
Congress of Linguists in July.

The congress, dubbed the Olympics of linguistics, will be open July 21-26 at
Korea University. The congress, held every five years, will convene for the
second time in Asia, following in Japan in 1982.

Under the theme of ``Unity and Diversity of Languages,'' participants will
emphasize that keeping diversity of language is the same as keeping
diversity of culture, Hong said.

``Language is universal in that all human beings use it. At the same time,
it is said there are 7,000 languages currently. Researchers have studied how
they are different and how they have been developed and become extinct,''
said Hong, French language and literature professor at Seoul National

In the last 20 years, many languages used by a small number of people, such
as a language specific to a tribe in the outback, have disappeared. ``Just
like biologists study endangered species and try to prevent their
extinction, linguists study such languages, try to keep them and store data
about them,'' Hong said.

``If a person cannot use his or her mother tongue, the person would feel as
if he or she were being deprived of his or her right to live. Some studies
regard `language rights' as part of human rights,'' he said. The year 2008
is International Year of Languages designated by the United Nations.

About 1,500 linguists will announce 850 theses on 19 themes. They include
Suzanne Romaine, author of ``Vanishing Voices'' and a professor at
University of Oxford; Laurence Horn, professor at Yale University; James
Pustejovsky, professor at Brandeis University; and Jean Aitchison, a
professor at Oxford.

After the congress, Seoul will host another international event on
humanities, the World Congress of Philosophy from July 30 to Aug. 5. 

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