The February webinar was held on Friday, February 18th, between 12 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

The webinar was is part of our “In Case You Missed It” series featuring presentations from our recent Annual Meeting. This webinar features MIT’s Michel DeGraff and is entitled “On Impure Linguistics for Self-Purification and Direct Action.”

We heard from Dr. DeGraff as he addressed an important question: Is it our responsibility as linguists to narrow the three-way gap among:

  1. A noble egalitarian ideal about the universal scientific worth of the world’s languages:  In this ideal, which is held by many (or most?) linguists, all languages are important in our investigation of Human Language.
  2. Linguistic discrimination that’s pervasive globally, even among linguists (cf. “Creole Exceptionalism”):  According to UNESCO’s data, 40% of children in the world are prevented from studying in, and valorizing, their home languages.  Most languages that we linguists study are excluded from classrooms—and also from courts, parliaments, written press, etc.  This predicament is exacerbated in the Global South.
  3. The (ir?)relevance of public outreach and direct action for linguistics:  Much of our research in linguistics remains by and large inaccessible to the communities that stand to benefit from our scientific insights about the worth of their disenfranchised languages.

In Dr. DeGraff’s lecture and Q&A, he invited our colleagues to help explore this three-way gap and ways to mend it. The presentation was made in English and Kreyòl with subtitles and ASL interpretation.

To view the webinar online visit: