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Multilingualism in the New and Old World


The Project

"Multilingualism in the Old and New Worlds" is an ambitious, research-based teaching project that uses digital and virtual methods and combines them with concrete sociolinguistic field research. Developed by Prof. Dr. Aria Adli, from UzK, and Prof. Dr. Gregory Guy, from New York University, and on the basis of their last year's project, this venture is projected to test an initially "local" method onto global, intercontinental issues. 
The focus is on "Languages in Latin America", in which autochthonous and Afro-Latin American minorities in the New World are looked at and compared with the multilingualism and diversity of varieties in Europe (especially on the Iberian Peninsula), as well as to observe how they are historically related.The innovative didactical aspect will be the virtual field trip students will be able to do throughout the course to several of these New World speaking communities. 
In each location and with the help of a previously built network of local consultants, authentic interviews are performed in the living environments of the speakers in their native languages.
The virtual field trip begins in São Paulo (Afro-brazilian Portuguese), and runs through in the south-brazilian Rio Grande do Sul (Riograndensen Hunsrückisch & Brazilian Portuguese), the peruvian capital of Lima (Chanka Quechua & Spanish), the northwest of Colombia (Embera Chami & Spanish), the Yucatán region in Mexico (Yucatan Maya & Spanish), and will end in the caribbean Havana (Afro-Cuban Spanish). The interviews with the speakers will be transcribed, translated, and archived in a sustainable format in the SAMD Database, whose bases were laid out in the first funding period. The students will carry out small-group projects and term papers with this empirical data.



Prof. Aria Adli

Professor of Linguistics (UoC)

Aria Adli specializes on grammatical variation. He tries to explain why certain grammatical forms (such as word order or pronouns) are preferred or used more frequently than others by speakers. He does so by taking into account language-internal as well as language-external factors. With regard to language-internal factors, he works on the syntax of a sentence in its speech context and on information structure. With regard to language-external factors, his research focuses on the role of social stratification, lifestyle according to Bourdieu, and register. His approach builds on language comparison (with emphasis on French, Spanish, Catalan, and Persian) and on cross-cultural analysis. His empirical methods include field work, corpus analysis, acceptability judgments, statistics, and computer simulations.

Prof. Gregory Guy

Professor of Linguistics (NYU)

Phonology, historical linguistics, Romance linguistics, pidgin and creole studies, phonetics, sociolinguistics and sociolinguistic universals.

Gregory Guy specializes in sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, phonetics and phonology. In sociolinguistics he has worked extensively on language variation and change, with emphasis on variation and linguistic theory, social aspects of variation and change and the social and linguistic distribution of language change in progress, and quantitative research methodology (the statistical modelling of variability). His current research focuses on the representation of language variation in linguistic theory. Other interests include phonological and syntactic variables in English, Portuguese and Spanish, historical linguistics, Romance linguistics (his areas of language specialization include English, Portuguese and Spanish), phonological theory, pidgin and creole studies, phonetics, and sociolinguistic universals.

Key facts University of Cologne (UoC) and New York University (NYU)
founded in 1388 (closed in 1798, re-established in 1919) founded in 1831
>51.000 students >50.000 students
6 faculties 19 schools and colleges
city university neighbouring the downtown area of Cologne located in Manhattan in New York City