What is an “Ancestral Linguistics”?
This article is part of the Ancient Literature Circle, an initiative of The New York Times and The Atlantic that aims to explore and explore the history and the future of literature.
The initiative, which includes research and a symposium, is supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
The Times and the Atlantic are partners with the Society of American Historians to promote the Times’s Ancient Language series and The New Yorker’s Ancient Literature series.
The symposium was co-sponsored by The Atlantic, the New York Public Library, the Society for American Historian, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
A selection of the topics discussed in the symposium included: How do we define an ancient language?
What is the relationship between language and history?
What does it mean to be an ancient speaker?
The history of language as a form of thought and communication.
The importance of writing and oral communication.
Why do we need to understand and talk about ancient languages?
And what can we learn from those who did so?
The symposia are held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and the Times is hosting a special symposium on Ancient Literature at the Newseum in New York City.
The symposium will feature the work of three scholars, including Matthew J. Pappas, a linguistics professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; William W. Davis, an archaeology professor at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis; and Mark R. Buehler, an historian of language at Rutgers University.
In addition to the symposes, The Times will host a series of events, including a sympose on the history of written language with scholars from the University at Buffalo and the University College of London.
The event, entitled “The History of Writing,” is open to the public and is open through June 23.
Other events will include a symphony on the language of the ancient Greeks, a sympoem on the “History of Literary Expression” with scholars at the Indiana University College at Indianapolis, and an evening of poetry, with a symphonic program by poets from the United States and the United Kingdom.
The “History” series is supported in part by the Pritzker Family Foundation and the Pulitzer Foundation.
The Newseums program is part-funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.