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Baruch College Conference Considers the Future of Minority Languages, Sept. 28 - 29

Wayne Finke, professor of Spanish and deputy chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, has organized geolinguistics conferences at Baruch for the last eight years.

Contact: Zane Berzins
News Director

New York, NY – Sept. 14, 2007 –“The Geolinguistics of Minority Languages,” an international conference organized by Wayne H. Finke, professor of Spanish and deputy chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, will take place at Baruch College on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28 and 29, 2007. The conference, held under auspices of the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and The American Society of Geolinguistics, brings together scholars and amateur students of linguistics who are grappling with the political and cultural issues surrounding languages in contact and conflict. Speakers will present papers on language policies and their intended and unintended consequences in Wales, Korea, Belgium, Mexico, Ireland, Japan, Catalonia and elsewhere.

The American Society of Geolinguistics has held a conference at Baruch College each year since 2000. These conferences explore various aspects of language dissemination, history, usage and cultural significance. This year’s theme was prompted by the adoption of “Euro-English” as the official language of the European Union and the continuing debate over the inclusion and status of “co-official” minority languages –there are now 22 -- with political pressures mounting to add others. Colin Williams, professor of Welsh at Cardiff University and a foremost expert on EU language deliberations, will deliver the keynote address on “Geolinguistics and the Empowerment of Linguistic Minorities.”

This conference takes place in Baruch College’s Newman Vertical Campus, 55 Lexington Avenue, Room 6-210 from 9:30 am to 5 pm on Friday, Sept. 28, and from 9:30 am to 3 pm on Saturday, Sept. 29. For additional information, call 646.312.4220.

Professor Finke is the editor of the journal Geolinguistics, which is s published annually by the American Society of Geolinguistics. Prior conferences have dealt with such topics as Language and Identity and “Linguicide,” the extinction of tribal and other local languages in a globalized world.

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