Sounds of Africa: Diversity in Language Phonetics with Dr. Asya Pereltsvaig

Sounds of Africa: Diversity in Language Phonetics with Dr. Asya Pereltsvaig


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Description

Africa, the continent longest inhabited by humans, is home to some 1,500 different and diverse languages, many of which use sounds that are present only within African language phonetics. From the throaty (pharyngeal) sounds of Arabic in the north to click sounds in languages of southern Africa, distinctive sounds and their combinations give African languages their unique historical context. Linguistic scholars at Harvard University estimate that there are at least 75 languages across Africa which have more than one million speakers; many of these are taught orally, with little text available in written form. 

During our time together, we will learn about the various unusual sounds used by different African languages, how they are pronounced, and we will discuss why the continent grew to have such a diverse kaleidoscope of languages and phonetic sounds. The continental language families of Africa are studied within four primary groups: Niger-Congo,
Nilo-Saharan, Afroasiatic, and Khoisan.

Led by an expert on linguistics and history, Asya Pereltsvaig, Ph.D., this conversation will explore how the latest technology is used to shed new light on the study of human languages and particular their sounds. Participants will come away with an increased understanding of linguistic diversity within the African continent, home to approximately one-third of the world's languages. 
About Your Expert

Asya Pereltsvaig received a PhD in Linguistics from McGill University and has taught at Yale, Cornell and Stanford, as well as in several U.S. and European universities. Her expertise is in language and history, and the relationship between them. Her most recent books, Languages of the World: An Introduction, 3rd edition (2020) and The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics (2015) were published by Cambridge University Press.

Audience

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

Duration

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
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(4)
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A
A. (Charlotte, US)

Guest did not leave comment

S
S. (Minneapolis, US)

So much fascinating detail about the idiosyncrasies of language.

A
A. (Sydney, AU)
Very interesting and Informative

An excellent introduction to the languages of Africa.

D
D.H. (Mountain View, US)
Excellent class

Dr. Pereltsvaig really knows her stuff! I especially appreciate her use of audio and video content as well as her graphically rich slides.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
100%
(4)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A. (Charlotte, US)

Guest did not leave comment

S
S. (Minneapolis, US)

So much fascinating detail about the idiosyncrasies of language.

A
A. (Sydney, AU)
Very interesting and Informative

An excellent introduction to the languages of Africa.

D
D.H. (Mountain View, US)
Excellent class

Dr. Pereltsvaig really knows her stuff! I especially appreciate her use of audio and video content as well as her graphically rich slides.