On some colonial power structures in the field of linguistics

A central discipline within linguistics is language description, which in many cases is carried out by white, Western researchers doing fieldwork on languages that are not spoken in the West. It is no secret that this tradition has its roots partly in European colonization and partly in Christian missionary work. Many language descriptions have thus been motivated by the wish to describe and map out the cultures and areas that the Europeans colonized, and furthermore, language descriptions have acted as foundations for translations of the Bible in connection with Christian missionary work. Much of modern linguistics is built on the works of this tradition, but despite this, it has not has not confronted its colonial past as a scientific discipline. …

When language becomes violence

Anmærkning 2020 06 01 163929

Can language cause harm? Can a speech act be an act of violence? These are important questions – especially in times when citing the right to freedom of expression is used as a way to legitimize hate speech. This is a tactic employed by people like the Danish right-wing politician Rasmus Paludan (henceforth RP), who uses ‘freedom of speech’ as a shield to say very negative things about Muslims (among others). It is always interesting to expand your linguistic horizons, so in this blog post I will attempt to examine hate speech and linguistic violence with insights from affect theory and philosophy.

Harmful speech

To understand how language can be violence, let us begin by considering professor and philosopher Judith …

2019 – International Year of Indigenous Languages

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2019 – International Year of Indigenous Languages

2019 – Internationaal Jaar van de Inheemse Talen

2019 – Internationalt år for indfødte sprog

2019 – Ôma askiy kâ-miyawâtamihk iyiniw-pîkiskwêwina misiwêskamik

2019 – Hur gatung haba ba pinang ajimi gi’e palika kakanap taang unavera

On the 28th of January, the start of the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL) will take place. IYIL is an initiative by the United Nations and is organised by UNESCO. International Years are organised yearly, with the goal of creating awareness for a particular issue of current importance to earth and/or mankind, and to allow and mobilise people to take action for a certain cause. Already in 2016 did the UN decide that 2019 would …