PRESS RELEASE -
The future of Languages
- more than just words
A public dialogue organised by the Club of Amsterdam, the British Council
and OBA - Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam.
As a part of the Language
Rich Europe project the current state of play as for multilingualism policy
and practice has been researched in 20 European countries. Its results
will be published in a publication as well as on an interactive website
in May 2012.
The project advocates "multilingualism for stable and prosperous
societies". We learn all our life how to communicate with each other.
In the contemporary world with various borders becoming more and more
blurred, it is even more tempting to use one common language. The most
widely spoken constructed intralanguage, Esperanto, comes to mind.
What would the consequences be if we all spoke one language? History shows
that languages that we use are not only about words. Federico Fellini,
an Italian filmmaker, once said, "A different language is a different
vision of life". But is there really a relationship between the language
and the thought? If we do decide to learn another language, what is the
easiest way to get a good grasp of it?
The newest technology offers stunning solutions for language learning.
CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) is an immersive virtual reality
environment where projectors are directed to three, four, five or six
sides of a room-sized cube. It is used in experiments for language learning
as it offers the unique opportunity to immerse into a different world
and language. (The name is also the reference to the allegory of the Cave
in Plato's Republic, where a philosopher contemplates perception, reality
and illusion). On the other hand, the newest solutions for machine and
real-time translation seem to undermine the effort required to speak other
languages. Where will it lead us?
Concept: Aleksandra Parcinska
Mirjam Broersma, PhD, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Why linguistic diversity will never disappear
Speaking and understanding speech are much more difficult in a second
language than in one's native language. Some of the associated problems
are not obvious to understand. Why do some foreign languages seem so much
faster than our native language? Why do Dutch speakers never manage to
pronounce the English 'th' correctly? This talk will explain such difficulties
by addressing the cognitive processes underlying speech. And it will answer
the question why, despite such difficulties, linguistic diversity will
Simon King, Professor
of Speech Processing & Director of the Centre for Speech Technology
Research, University of Edinburgh, UK
Making computers speak like individual people.
Simon will demonstrate what is currently possible in speech synthesis
- the conversion from text to speech by computers. Recent developments
now make it possible for computers to sound like individual people, opening
up new applications such as personalised speech translation and assistive
communication aids for people who have difficulty speaking. But there
remain barriers to making this technology available in all the world's
languages, especially those with small numbers of speakers, or spoken
in less affluent parts of the world.
Tsead Bruinja, Poet
Failing in Between - Writing Poetry in
Tsead s a poet/performer who writes
both in Frisian (the language spoken in the provence Fryslân) and
in Dutch. Bruinja has read his work at festival all over the world, from
Zimbabwe and Nicaragua to Indonesia. His work has been translated in many
languages and he himself has translated the work of poets from other into
Dutch and Frisian.
In his talk he will read some of his translations and original poetry
and talk about his experiences as a poet writing in two languages. Bruinja
had to relearn to write Frisian when he was 25 and he did this mainly
by reading Frisian books and studying Frisian at the University of Groningen,
where he first studied English language and American literature. Frisian
is a language spoken by half of the population of Fryslân, but about
4% can actually write Frisian and maybe 20% can read it. 'Why would you
want to write for such a small audience?' is a question he is often asked
by his Dutch colleagues and Bruinja answers 'because it is the language
that my mother spoke.'
music with Asia Kowalewska, a Polish singer and songwriter.
- more than just words
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Registration: 18:30-19:00, Conference: 19:00-21:15
Location: OBA - Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, Oosterdokseiland 143,
1011 DL Amsterdam (east of Amsterdam Centraal Station), 7th floor, Het
Theater van 't Woord
In collaboration with the British Council and OBA - Openbare Bibliotheek
- end -
The Club of Amsterdam provides free
If you want to apply, please get in touch with us:
The Club of Amsterdam
is an independent, international, future-oriented
think tank involved in channelling preferred
futures. It involves
those who dare to think out of the box and those who don't just talk about
the future but actively participate in shaping outcomes.
We organize events, seminars and summits on relevant issues and publish
findings & proceedings through various off-line and online media channels.
Our goal is to become a global player and catalyst for innovation in industries,
science and society. We
currently have more than 4,300 members globally.
The Club of Amsterdam is a not-for-profit foundation registered in the