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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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

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. 

Kolkata Chai Co was started by brothers Ayan and Ani Sanyal with a simple idea: How do we extend the authenticity, respect and tradition behind a cup of masala chai to NYC? For years, chai has been bastardized and appropriated in the U.S., and it was time to bring respect, tradition and authenticity back to one of the world's most cherished drinks. Inspired by summers spent in Kolkata exploring bazaars and street food stalls, the brothers opened their first cafe/restaurant in NYC's East Village in the fall of 2019 to critical acclaim from Eater, Food & Wine Magazine, Good Morning America, and other prominent outlets. The menu features Bengali street food staples such as masala chai and bhel puri in addition to modern twists including their famous non-dairy oat milk masala chai and chai caramel ice cream. Kolkata Chai hopes to inspire others to unlock the richness of their own cultures and tradition over a cup of steaming hot masala chai.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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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 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
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.