Soap Vox Lecture | 1 February | Prof. John Starr

Wednesday 1 February at 18:00 in Lecture Theatre 1, Appleton Tower

Prof. John Starr (Edinburgh University) on “Sects and Texts: Qumran and the Aramaic-speaking world”

Abstract: Qumran was an archetypal sectarian community. In some caves about eight miles south of Jericho, texts lay undisturbed for around two thousand years until their discovery in 1947. Of the nine hundred or so texts, most are written in Hebrew at a time when this was reserved for scriptural writings, whereas the everyday language of the Jews was Aramaic. Aramaic is first recorded about one thousand years before Qumran, and forms of it are still spoken today. Its use became widespread during the Persian Empire when it was adopted as the official language, and continued long after Qumran east of the Roman Empire before being largely superseded by Arabic. Just over one hundred of the texts found at Qumran are in Aramaic. Though none are thought to have originated at Qumran, doubtless many were copied there and carefully preserved in the caves. In this lecture I will describe how statistical approaches can help classify the Aramaic texts found at Qumran and what the contours of this classification might tell us about the shape of sectarian identities that made up the Qumran community.

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RSVP on facebook

Entry is £1 and FREE to active members. Membership can be purchased on our EUSA profile or otherwise at that night.

The talk will start at 6:00 p.m. and last about 1 hour. It will be followed by a Q&A session (about half an hour). We will then go to a pub for food and drink with the speaker.

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Our talks are public lectures open to all, regardless of whether you are a student or not or what or where you study if a student. We aim for all of our events to be accessible to all; please feel free to contact us beforehand if you require assistance or further information.

Lisp and Speech Buddies

One of my friends used to have a lisp when she was little. Some of you may not know what a lisp is; it’s a speech disorder (‘sigmatism’) that usually involves people having difficulty producing sibilants and replacing them with interdentals or dentals resulting in unclear speech. Lisps are often down to physiological causes, such as deformations, a large, bruised, or swollen tongue and underbites.

Treatment (speech therapy) can take months or even years. I just came across a relatively recently developed instrument to support speech therapy, the speech buddy:

Soap Vox Lecture | 18 January | Dr. Graeme Trousdale

Wednesday 18 January at 18:00 in Lecture Theatre 1, Appleton Tower

Dr. Graeme Trousdale (Edinburgh University) on “Linguistics in schools – is the tide turning?”

Abstract: For many years, the place of knowledge about language (KAL) in the school curriculum was marginalised. Much of this was a consequence of academic linguists failing to engage with teachers and with policy makers. In more recent years, however, KAL has enjoyed a resurgence of interest, and a more central place in certain parts of the school curriculum. What’s more, extra-curricular – and cross-curricular – interest in linguistics has been developing, particularly in connection with the recent United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad. In this talk, I discuss some of the ways in which a renewed interest in KAL has been manifest; I also consider what more remains to be done, and ways in which young linguists – those people taking degrees in linguistics and English Language, and recent graduates in those fields – could become involved in the promotion of linguistics in schools, if they wished.

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RSVP on facebook

Entry is £1 and FREE to active members. Membership can be purchased on our EUSA profile or otherwise at that night.

The talk will start at 6:00 p.m. and last about 1 hour. It will be followed by a Q&A session (about half an hour). We will then go to a pub for food and drink with the speaker.

***
Our talks are public lectures open to all, regardless of whether you are a student or not or what or where you study if a student. We aim for all of our events to be accessible to all; please feel free to contact us beforehand if you require assistance or further information.