Prof Nicholas Ostler, a renowned linguist meets AMU VC
ALIGARH December 23: Prof. Nicholas Ostler, a British linguist, scholar, author and currently the Chairman of the Foundation for Endangered Languages, who is visiting the Department of Linguistics, Aligarh Muslim University as a foreign resource person under the MHRD?s programme, Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), today met AMU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Tariq Mansoor in his office and discussed various facets of linguistic diversity and issues of language endangerment both within and outside India.
Prof Ostler has delivered a series of lectures at the University and also conducted two workshops for the participants drawn from different universities.
Prof Ostler received degrees in Greek, Latin, philosophy and economics and later studied under Noam Chomsky at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his Ph.D. in linguistics and Sanskrit.
Prof Ostler?s book Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World (HarperCollins: London and New York, 2015) documents the spread of language throughout recorded human history and explains the spread of the various Semitic languages of Mesopotamia, including Akkadian and Aramaic. It also examines the resilience of Chinese through the centuries and looks into the differential expansion of Latin in both halves of the Roman Empire, along with the many other expansions of the world's (historical) languages.
His book Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin (HarperCollins, UK, and Walker & Co., USA: London and New York, 2017) looks specifically at the language of the Romans, both before and after the existence of their Empire. The story focuses on the rise, spread, and dominance of Latin, both among other languages of the Italian peninsula in the early part of the 1st millennium BC and among the languages of Western Europe in the Dark Ages and beyond, presenting the life of Latin as any biographer would present the life of his subject. With this book, Ostler provides a strong argument against the label 'dead language' so often assigned to Latin. However, the title, 'Ad Infinitum,' refers not to this, but to his thesis that the Latin-speaking world was unconscious of its own limits, looking always back to its centre, rather than outwards.
Prof Ostler?s other books include The Last Lingua Franca: English until the Return to Babel. (Penguin in the UK, and Bloomsbury/Walker Books in the USA. London and New York, 2010) and Passwords to Paradise: How Languages Have Re-invented World Religions. (Bloomsbury. London and New York, 2016).
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