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Top Linguist visiting Wellington

Top Linguist visiting Wellington

The stories of English, Language Death and The Future of Language are the lectures to be presented by one of the world's leading commentators on language when he visits New Zealand later this month. Professor David Crystal will be visiting New Zealand, from the UK, as the inaugural Ian Gordon Fellow in Linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington.

With over 100 books published Crystal has also been a consultant, contributor, and presenter on several radio and television programmes and series, including numerous BBC programmes since the 1980s. He is currently patron of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL), president of the UK National Literacy Association, and an honorary vice-president of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, the Institute of Linguists and the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.

About the Ian Gordon Fellowship

This fellowship was established in the final years of Emeritus Professor Ian Gordon’s life when he donated half a million dollars to the Victoria University Foundation to support his life-long passion for the study of language and his loyalty to Victoria University. Well known as I.A. Gordon, he had his own radio show on National Radio and wrote a popular column on language in the New Zealand Listener. He also wrote 20 books, including A Word in Your Ear and Take My Word for It. He was an authority on the writings of Katherine Mansfield and Scottish novelist John Galt.

Lecture details

Public lectures start at 6pm and will be held in MCLT101 (Maclaurin Lecture Theatre 101), located in the Maclaurin building of Victoria University’s Kelburn Campus, in Wellington.

The stories of English: Wednesday 20 September

A talk based on the book The Stories of English, published by Penguin in 2004. It reviews the history of the language from the point of view of the non-standard varieties – in particular, the regional dialects – which have always made up the majority of English usage. The role of standard English is given a fresh interpretation.

Language Death Writing the Obituary of Languages?: Thursday 21 September

Half the languages of the world will die out within the next centaury. This talk reviews the way languages are dying, asks why, and then asks what can be done. It presents the arguments why people should be concerned, drawing a parallel with other ecological domains.

The future of language: Wednesday 27 September

The end of the twentieth century was a revolutionary period for language and languages. The acknowledgement of the first truly global language, English, coincided with a realisation of the crisis affecting the world’s endangered and minority languages, and the arrival of a new technology, the Internet, offered and ambiguous role in relation to both these themes. For professionals working with language, things are never going to be the same again.

Flyer and media release from publisher attached as pdf files.


See... David Crystal Lectures Flyer (PDF)

Media Release
As they say in Zanzibar


by David Crystal

Publication date: October 1st 2006 Price £34.99
David Crystal is one of the world's leading commentators on language. He has been a consultant, contributor or presenter on all the important radio and television programmes about language. He received an OBE for services to the English language in 1995, and was made a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA) in 2000.
'David Crystal is a national treasure' –The Times
Is there still a place for proverbs in the twenty-first century?
In a fascinating new book, As they say in Zanzibar, David Crystal aims to answer this question by taking us on a global tour of the world's proverbs as well as bringing his customary commercial eye and linguistic expertise to this wonderfully rich topic.
Proverbs are fascinating in what they tell us about a culture’s view of everyday life. So, whether you are in Andorra, China or Tierra del Fuego, there is a nugget of local wisdom to inform and entertain.
• When two elephants struggle, it is the grass that suffers (Zanzibar)
• Never bolt your door with a boiled carrot (Ireland)
• One must chew according to one’s teeth (Norway)
• An untouched drum does not speak (Liberia)
• Do not try to borrow combs from shaven monks (China)
• Don't call the alligator a big-mouth till you have crossed the river (Belize)

As they say in Zanzibar will not only enrich your language but will also help revive some of the oldest and most entertaining proverbs.


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