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CLAS Lecture Series: "From Spanish and Portuguese to Pirahã: Language Diversity and its Consequences"

Spanish has more than 400 million speakers and is an official language in 18 countries of Latin America; Portuguese has more than 200 million native speakers in Brazil. At the other end of the spectrum, there are languages like Pirahã, an isolated language with less than 400 speakers and in between hundreds of other indigenous languages. This talk will address questions like the following: Why is the number of indigenous languages decreasing? What factors contribute to language vitality? Why is it so difficult to determine exactly how many indigenous languages are spoken nowadays in Latin America? Why has such a small language like Pirahã been the focus of so much discussion among linguists and anthropologists? Why does language diversity have different political consequences in different areas?
Eulàlia Bonet, Tinker Visiting Professor, Department of Linguistics at Stanford University, and Associate Professor (profesora titular d'universitat) at the Department of Catalan Philology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
More about Professor Bonet can be found here.



Friday, May 16, 2014. 01:15PM


Center for Latin American Studies. Bolivar House, 582 Alvarado Row


Center for Latin American Studies


(650) 725-0383


Free and open to the public.