Me: “I wanna dedicate my life to languages”
Me: *puts minimal effort into actually learning languages*
Study linguistics, and the contradiction is gone. ;-)
Yes, you too can know a lot about languages while knowing virtually no languages.
I’m excited to finally announce that I’m going to be teaching two linguistics-related programs at a summer camp in Montreal this July.
The camp is called Explorations, and it has a wide variety of fun/educational workshops on topics such as science and art. I’ll be offering two workshops to the intermediate age group (students between grades 4 and 9). Here are the descriptions:Make your own language!
Have you ever wanted to have a secret language that only you can understand? In this workshop, we’ll talk about some of the most interesting characteristics of languages around the world. It’s more than just words: there are lots of unique sounds and ways of putting words together that are different from English. Pick and choose which ways you like best or invent a different variation to come up with your own conlang (constructed language) in the tradition of Elvish, Dothraki, or Klingon. Then it’s up to you whether you try to convince anyone else to speak it with you or keep it a secret!How does language work?
How do babies learn language when no one teaches it to them? Why is understanding the difference between “time flies like an arrow” and “fruit flies like a banana” easy for a human but hard for a computer? How do you know the meaning of words and sentences you’ve never heard before? Do animals have language the way humans do? Can we make a machine that could have a conversation with us? What happens when you injure a part of the brain involved in language? In this workshop, we’ll explore the answers to these and other questions about how language works.
It is a day camp, so unfortunately you do need to be in the Montreal area (or, I suppose, have friends or family nearby to stay with) in order to attend.
The workshops only happen if a sufficient number of campers register for them, so I’m hoping I’ll get to run both of mine! If you know any 9-14 year olds in the Montreal area, I’d really appreciate if you could pass this along. I’m also planning to post some updates about how the camp goes, as a linguistics outreach resource. (I definitely wish this had existed when I was young.)
I’ll also be at the open house tomorrow, May 31st at 2pm at St. George’s School, High School Campus, where you can talk to instructors and register for different activities. More details at the Explorations website.