UCL European Institute


Foreigner Talk: Understanding Otherness in Language

07 June 2017, 10:00 am–5:00 pm


Event Information

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Join a workshop on 'speaking differently', organised by several UCL schools, centres and consortia as part of the UCL Festival of Culture 2017.

Wednesday 7 June

Wednesday 7th June (various times)

Please see here for details.

G03 Lecture Theatre
26 Bedford Way

Do you know anyone who has no accent? Which language does she speak? Do you hear more and more people with an East European accent around you? What is it like? Do these questions have to do with language or society?

While language is a mode of human behaviour, and as such a natural phenomenon, it is also what we make of it. Using language involves interpretation and understanding, and not just in the sense that we understand the 'content' of what others say. We interpret not only what is said but also how it is said, starting from the consonants and vowels one uses, through the speaker's lexical choices, to the way they link parts of sentences together. Through the ways we hear others, we construct sameness and difference. We associate human character traits with ways of speaking, thus, language becomes not only a cultural but also a personality symbol.

Join UCL researches and students as they explore language contact and linguistic boundary raising in a variety of contexts, including multilingualism and migrant languages in the UK, the use of linguistic difference for dramatic effect, and the way we hear, and talk to, our Others, such as foreigners, minority speakers, gods, spirits, and other strangers.

Talks and discussions take place throughout the day from 10am to 5.30pm. For details of the programme please contact Eszter Tarsoly or check the Festival of Culture website.

This workshop will be followed by the opening of the exhibition A Sense of Belonging: Mosaics from a New Portrait of London in the Waterstones Gallery on Mallet Place.

This programme of events is supported by UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL Grand Challenges, the CEELBAS consortium, and UCL Global Citizenship Programme.

Blackboard image (C) Flickr user 'crashdburnd' (CC BY 2.0).

Culture Festival