Mar
02

Lives of the Great Languages: Cosmopolitan Languages in the Medieval Mediterranean

5 - 7 p.m.
Dwinelle Hall 3335

Karla Mallette, University of Michigan

Department of Italian Studies, Department of English, Department of Ethnic Studies, Department of Geography, Department of Linguistics, Near Eastern Studies, Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Medieval Studies Program, The Program in Romance Languages and Literatures, Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Join the Italian Studies Department for the 2017 Marie G. Ringrose Graduate Lecture.

Before the rise of the European national languages, men and women of letters had to learn a new language in order to become literate. At the other end of the social scale, contact languages emerged to facilitate communication between people who did not share a common language. The Italianate lingua franca was the best known of these contact languages. Professor Mallette studies these linguistic instruments — the cosmopolitan language of literature as well as the lingua franca — in order to defamiliarize the national language system of modern Europe. Tracing the intersections between Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and the Romance vernaculars, she demonstrates how languages overcome the very boundaries that they seem to create.


This event is cosponsored by the Department of Italian Studies, the Department of English, the Department of Ethnic Studies, the Department of Geography, the Department of Linguistics, the Department of Near Eastern Studies, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Program in Medieval Studies, the Program in Romance Languages and Literatures, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Institute for European Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

The Ringrose Lecture, begun in 1998, features a distinguished scholar in some aspect of Italian Studies chosen by a committee of UCB graduate students, who also organize and run the event. The Ringrose lecturer delivers a public lecture and conducts a seminar for Italian Studies students. The lecture is one of many department activities made possible by the generous contributions of Marie G. Ringrose, a UCB alumna (BA 1930).

issa@berkeley.edu, 510-642-2704