Professor Ghilad Zuckermann: Sleeping Beauties Awake

7 September 2012 @ 4:00 AM – 5:15 AM
MY101, Murphy Building
Kelburn Parade
Kelburn, Wellington 6012
New Zealand
Jean Parkinson
(04) 463 5600

This groundbreaking lecture will analyse the ethical, aesthetic and utilitarian benefits of language revival, and propose the establishment of Revival Linguistics, a new discipline studying systematically the universal constraints and local peculiarities apparent in linguistic and cultural revitalizations across various sociological backgrounds. With coca-colonization and homogenization there will be more and more groups added to the forlorn club of the lost-heritage peoples. Language reclamation will become increasingly relevant as people seek to recover their cultural autonomy, empower their spiritual and intellectual sovereignty, and improve their wellbeing. There is an urgent need to offer perspicacious comparative insights relevant to language reclamation.


Ghil’ad Zuckermann is Professor of Linguistics of Endangered Languages and Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Fellow at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He is an expert of revival linguistics, language contact and lexicology. He is also the ‘Project 211’ Visiting Professor at the Shanghai International Studies University and serves as Editorial Board member of Journal of Language Contact (JLC), and occasional consultant for the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Ghilad has addressed NZ Friends of Israel before, speaking about the differences between Modern Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew.  We can vouch that he is an interesting and engaging speaker.

In 2000-2004 he was Gulbenkian Research Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, and was affiliated with the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Studies, University of Cambridge.

After studying at the United World College (UWC) of the Adriatic (Collegio del Mondo Unito dell’Adriatico; Duino, Trieste) (1987-1989) and performing several years of military service (1989-1993), he was selected for the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Programme for Outstanding Students of Tel Aviv University, where he studied philosophy, psychology, classics, literature, law and mathematics, and specialized in linguistics, receiving his M.A. (97%, summa cum laude) from the Department of Linguistics in 1997. As Scatcherd European Scholar of the University of Oxford and Denise Skinner Graduate Scholar of St Hugh’s College, Oxford, he gained his D.Phil., entitled ‘Camouflaged Borrowing: “Folk-Etymological Nativization” in the Service of Puristic Language Engineering’, in 2000.

He has published in English, Israeli (‘Ivrit’), Italian, Yiddish, Spanish, German, Russian and Chinese. His controversial bestseller book Israelit Safa Yafa (Israeli, a Beautiful Language: Hebrew as Myth) (ISBN: 978-965-13-1963-1) was published in 2008 by Am Oved (Tel Aviv), and his book Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew (ISBN: 1-4039-1723-X) came out with Palgrave Macmillan in 2003. He is currently preparing five further volumes: (1) Language Revival and Multiple Causation (Oxford University Press), (2) You Already Know Hebrew/English! (An innovative tool for foreign language learning/teaching), (3) Afro-Asiatic Languages and Cultures (Brill), (4) Language, Religion and Identity, and (5) Jewish Language Contact.

Prof. Zuckermann has taught various undergraduate and graduate courses in four continents, e.g. at the University of Cambridge (Faculty of Oriental Studies, now known as Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies), National University of Singapore, University of Miami, University of Haifa, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University (Košice, Slovakia), The University of Queensland (Associate Professor 2006-2010), and Shanghai International Studies University.

He has been research fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study and Conference Center (Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Italy), Research Centre for Linguistic Typology (RCLT) (Institute for Advanced Study, La Trobe University), Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (University of Texas at Austin) and Kokuritu Kokugo Kenkyuuzyo (National Language Research Institute, Tokyo). He has held a range of fellowships and scholarships, including a Project 211 Fellowship (China), British Academy Research Grant, Memorial Foundation of Jewish Culture Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harold Hyam Wingate Scholarship, British Chevening Scholarship and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Scholarship.

On 11-13 September 2009, he organized the first Australian Workshop on Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (AWAAL), a most successful international conference held at the Brisbane Writers Festival (State Library of Queensland), as well as at The University of Queensland.

Prof. Zuckermann has been consultant to Oxford University Press (OUP), Oxford English Dictionary (OED), Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies (University of Miami), and Leyvik House, The Israeli Center for Yiddish Culture, Tel Aviv. He is Editorial Board Member of Journal of Language Contact, Jewish Contemporary Review, Mizrekh: Jewish Studies in the Far East, The Open Applied Linguistics Journal; Scientific Committee Member of Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE); Academic Committee Member of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), Yale, New Haven; and Thought Leader of Creativity Australia, Melbourne.

He has been referee for Yale University Press (YUP), Cambridge University Press (CUP), Languages in Contrast, Australian Journal of Linguistics, Balshanut Ivrit (Hebrew Linguistics), Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, International Journal of Lexicography, CamLing (Conference in Language Research, University of Cambridge), and Academic Research Fund, National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore. In 2008 he was President of the Jury of the BIFF Interfaith Award for Promoting Humanitarian Values, Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF).

He has delivered hundreds of keynote speeches, other conference papers and invited public lectures, e.g. in Adelaide, Ann Arbor (Michigan), Armidale (New South Wales), Atlanta (Georgia), Auckland (NZ), Austin (Texas), Bangkok, Beer Sheva, Beijing (Peking University), Bellagio, Bergamo, Berkeley (California), Bloomington (Indiana), Boston (Massachusetts), Boulder (Colorado), Brisbane, Bristol, Cambridge, Christchurch (NZ), Duino (Trieste, Italy), Dunedin (NZ), Gainesville (Florida), Haifa, Hamilton (NZ), Hong Kong (Hong Kong University), Honolulu, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Jinan (Shandong University, China), Kfar Saba, Košice (Slovakia), London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Miami (Florida), Moscow, Munich, Nanjing (China), New Brunswick (New Jersey), New York City, Orlando (Florida), Oxford, Poznan (Poland), Princeton (New Jersey), Rishon LeZion, Roehampton (UK), San Diego (California), Santiago de Cuba, Shanghai, Shenzhen (China), Singapore, Stanford (California), Sydney, Tampa (Florida), Tel Aviv, Tempe (Arizona), Tianjin (Nankai University, China), Tiv’on, Toowoomba (Queensland), Trieste, Tucson (Arizona), Tokyo, Vilnius and Wellington (NZ).

Prof. Zuckermann is a member of the Philological Society, Linguistic Society of America (LSA), Centre for Research on Language Change (CRLC), Antipodean East European Study Group, European Association for Lexicography (EURALEX), Association for Jewish Studies (AJS), European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS), Israeli Association for the Study of Language and Society (IALS), Australasian Association for Lexicography (AUSTRALEX), Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquee (AILA), National Association of Professors of Hebrew (NAPH), Australian Linguistic Society (ALS), Australian Association of Jewish Studies (AAJS), Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (SPCL), Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics (SAAL), Cambridge Institute of Language Research (CILR).

Professor Zuckermann has been an invited speaker on various TV programmes in Israel (e.g. Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 10, Channel 23, YES, YES DOCO), different radio programmes in Australia (e.g. four ABC Lingua Franca programmes, an ABC Encounter programme with David Rutledge, an ABC Big Ideas panel broadcast on 15 April 2010 at 6pm, various SBS interviews in Israeli, Yiddish, Italian and English, 6PR Perth, 3ZZZ Melbourne), Israel (e.g. Galey Tzahal, Reshet Bet, Kol Israel), New Zealand, South Africa and Germany, and has featured in dozens of newspaper articles in the United Kingdom (e.g. Reuters), USA (e.g. The Forward), Canada (e.g. Globe and Mail), Israel (e.g. Haaretz, Maariv, Yediot Aharonot, Jerusalem Post, English Haaretz, Ynet, NRG, Time Out, Makor Rishon, Erev Erev, HaIr), the Netherlands (e.g. Trouw), Spain (e.g. Terra), Sweden (e.g. Språktidningen), New Zealand (e.g. New Zealand Jewish Chronicle), Germany (Jüdische Zeitung), and Australia (e.g. The Australian, Courier Mail, Australian Jewish News, Rhapsody, E-ton, Galus Australis).

In 1993-6 Professor Zuckermann taught preparatory courses for various psychometric examinations (e.g. GMAT) at Kidum Institute, Tel Aviv, and co-authored four books in this field. Other interests include opera (in particular Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti and Mozart), film, photography, constrained literature, poetry, paleo-anthropology and human migration, cultural immersion through travel, and world politics.

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