Lives of the Great Languages: Cosmopolitan Languages in the Medieval Mediterranean – Karla Mallette, Professor of Italian and Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan

Please join the Department of Italian Studies on Thursday, March 2, for a talk by Professor Karla Mallette on the history of Mediterranean linguistic connections between Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

The 2017 Marie G. Ringrose Graduate Lecture, Department of Italian Studies, UC Berkeley

Lives of the Great Languages: Cosmopolitan Languages in the Medieval Mediterranean
Karla Mallette, Professor of Italian and Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan

Thursday March 2, 2017, 5 p.m.
3335 Dwinelle Hall

Before the rise of the European national languages, men and women of letters had to learn a new language in order to become literate. At the other end of the social scale, contact languages emerged to facilitate communication between people who did not share a common language. The Italianate lingua franca was the best known of these contact languages. Professor Mallette studies these linguistic instruments — the cosmopolitan language of literature as well as the lingua franca — in order to defamiliarize the national language system of modern Europe. Tracing the intersections between Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and the Romance vernaculars, she demonstrates how languages overcome the very boundaries that they seem to create.

The lecture will be followed by a reception.

This event is generously co-sponsored by the Departments of English, Ethnic Studies, Geography, Linguistics, Spanish and Portuguese, and Near Eastern Studies; the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; the Program in Medieval Studies; and the Program in Romance Languages and Literatures.