Speakers – Call for Papers

The Call for Papers for Polyglot Conference Global on 16-25 October 2020 is now open!

If you’d like to speak at this year’s event, please complete the form below!

Remember to consider all the following in your submission:

  • A brief abstract, describing your topic, suitable for publishing on the program
  • A short bio about yourself, explaining your experience with respect to the topic
  • Any links to blogs, videos or other supporting material that will help the papers committee to assess your submission

We’re seeking presentations on all subjects relating to language and at a range of levels, from the latest academic research to practical, hands-on sessions. The language learning community comprises a broad spectrum of people, and we want a range of subjects from the very broad to the very specific.

At this year’s conference, we will have five separate tracks for papers and presentations:

  1. A Window into My World
  2. Black & Minority Voices
  3. People with Disabilities
  4. The Road to Cholula
  5. Other Language-related Topics

Which Language for my presentation?

You tell us! Please note that while the majority of talks are proposed in English, this is the Polyglot Conference and we actively encourage presentations in other languages. If you can deliver your talk in more than one language, please let us know. Remember that this year, you can always easily subtitle them yourself too!

Workshops

In addition to the standard lecture format, we are also looking for practical workshops on anything language-related. Can you teach us a language, a script, an art form, or perhaps a traditional song or dance? We’ve had workshops on various languages, as well as braille, sign language and traditional songs and dance. What would you like to share with the polyglot community?

Please fill in the form to submit your proposal to speak at Polyglot Conference Global:

SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL

Air Alphabet: Speaking with Your Eyes — Kati & Henning van der Hoeven

¡No se Dice "Se Kayo Embasho"...Se Dice "Se cayó al piso"!: Komo Superar los Predjuisios Lingvísticos enverso el Ladino i sus Avlantes — Dr. Carlos Yebra Lopez

En esta prezentasyon darsare sovre el ladino o djudeo-espanyol, lingua diasporika i minorizada avlada en la mas grande parte por los djudyos ke fueron arondjados de la Peninsula Iberika al kavo del sekolo kinze. Por kavza de la stigma de la ekspulsion, ansi ke su status de lingva minorizada (espesialmente en komparasion kon la norma estandar del espanyol moderno), del punto de vista istoriko i lingvistiko el ladino i sus avlantes sufrieron i kontinuan en sufriendo todo un alay de predjuisios ideolojikos, mizmo komo los avlantes de munchas otras linguas minorizadas en todo el mundo. En partikolar, uno de los predjuisios ideolojikos mas frekuentes es el de ke el ladino es un espanyol mal avlado/eskrito. Para abediguar en la lucha kontra este modo de diskriminasyon, en 2017 fragui Ladino 21 endjunto kon el sefaradi Benni Aguado i el lingvisto espanyol Alejandro Acero. El buto de Ladino 21 es dokumentar, amostrar i fiestar el ladino en el sekolo 21 tal i komo se avla en el mundo oyendia. En este filmiko espyegare de ke el ladino no es espanyol moderno, i de ke no esta mal avlado/eskrito. Eskaparemos en diziendo ke el ladino es una lingua autonoma ke kale respektar komo independiente del espanyol, i ke respektar una lingua sinyifika respektar a sus avlantes. Konoses otras linguas en perikolo de ekstinsion? Kualo puedes azer para ke no se diritan ni la lingua ni su komunita de avlantes?

 

Как звучать как носитель русского языка? — Пугачева Наталья

Вы хотите говорить по-русски как носитель русского языка? Использовать такие слова и выражения, которые мы используем в повседневной жизни? Понимать людей на улице, в театре или в кафе? Тогда все это мы сможем с Вами узнать на нашем уроке. Конечно, Вы знаете стилистически нейтральную лексику русского языка, но наша цель – выучить такие слова, выражения, конструкции, которые позволяют нам говорить как носители русского языка. В двух словах, мы узнаем «живой» русский язык с точки зрения теории и практики. Присоединяйтесь! Мы вместе всё «разложим по полочкам»!

The Language Learning Landscape in Australia: Observations by Two Australian Language Lovers — Bec Howie & Penny Wilson

Australia is a hugely multicultural place that is richer for the waves of immigration that have brought people here from all around the world. Despite the diversity of cultural and linguistic groups that live together in this country (and the fact that before immigration, Australia was home to hundreds of indigenous languages – sadly only a fraction remain spoken today), we have seen first-hand that languages other than English simply have not been valued for various reasons, leaving a long-lasting perception with many Australians that languages are not a priority, too hard to learn, or not important when English is so dominant. In this presentation, we’ll provide an insight into our observations of the ‘language learning landscape’ here in Australia, our experiences of learning other languages at school and university in Australia, how things have changed and what we’d like to see in the future.

Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Old Norse — Todd B. Krause

The Vikings not only broke the mold of the adventuring seafarers of the Medieval European North, but they also inherited and uniquely preserved aspects of a shared Germanic culture. The language they spoke, Old Norse, exhibits a similar tendency: vehicle of some of the most technical and innovative poetic styles of the day, yet repository of a fantastic heritage linked to other Germanic languages and beyond. In this talk we discuss how we can use the history of this Scandinavian culture to understand the language, and how we can use the language to understand history. Cultures all across Medieval Europe record the dreadful impact of raiders upon unsuspecting commoners and clergy and kings. Less lauded is the impact these same Scandinavians had on the languages of the cultures they encountered. We will investigate the influence of Old Norse upon languages across the seas, like Old Russian and Old English. Were Old English and Old Norse mutually intelligible, like some ancient texts really suggest? Just as important, this ancient Scandinavian culture and shared language did not come from nowhere. How do we understand the interrelatedness of cultures and their languages? Using the tools of historical linguistics, we will delve deeper into history to investigate less common questions: what features does Old Norse have in common with Hittite? Is the Old Norse word for “salmon” really the same as the Tocharian word? As we venture across space and time with the Vikings and their language, join us and find out.

Introduction to Lezgi: Lessons From An Uncommon Language Journey — Piotr Kozłowski

1. A brief introduction to Lezgi (Nakh-Dagestanian family, 500k+ speakers), its grammatical features, history and sociolinguistic situation of its speakers (living on both sides of the Dagestan-Azerbaijan border, elsewhere in Russia and in diaspora communities around the globe) and their diverse attitudes towards their language 2. Lezgi literacy in internet era (who writes where, about what and in which language), with tips on how to approach learning an understudied minority language with a very unfamiliar (from Indo-European POV) grammar 3. My own experience with learning Lezgi and what it has made me aware of. It was the first language I approached with very limited resources, and achieving a degree of success in it taught me a lot about language learning in general. By interacting with Lezgis I also learnt quite a lot about dilemmas faced by linguistic minorities wishing to preserve their own identities but also participate fully in political and social life of the mainstream society

Accepting Breeds Better Communication — Tatiana Taranova

Being used to the fact that it’s difficult for my students to cope with some phenomena of English grammar that do not exist in Russian language I’ve invented the whole arsenal of different methods, metaphors, analogies to help them understand the material. Not until much later did I understand what that thing that impeded the process was. During one of the lessons a student of mine asked a question that made me change my approach to language teaching. Trying to pronounce / θ / sound» she said: «Which Russian sounds is it similar to? Is it more like /f/ or /s/». She was refusing to accept that there could be some other notions in other languages that existed independently of her first language. Why is it so difficult for language learners to accept and put up with the fact that other languages have different sentences structures, or some nouns’ genders don’t coincide with those of the nouns in L1 or might not have any grammatical gender at all. You, experienced language learners, might not be familiar with these thoughts. But a lot of my students do think so and you might recognise your students here as well. So why don’t we, when teaching or learning a language start with introducing it to the students or perceiving it as a living being with its soul, character, it’s peculiarities? Introduce it like that, discover and celebrate all the differences and accept them without questioning the way we accept other people, without judging and comparing.

Teaching multiple languages with the Mehrsprachencurriculum at a high school in South Tyrol (Italy) from a teacher’s and researcher’s perspective — Claudia Pellegrini

As an English teacher at a high school in South Tyrol (Italy) I have collaborated with engaged teachers of other languages (German, Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Latin, and Ancient Greek) in numerous European and local multilingual projects. Yet only after a long piloting phase did my school implement an adapted version of the Mehrsprachencurriculum Südtirol (Schwienbacher, Quartapelle, & Patscheider, 2017) in the school curriculum. Several common language curricula have recently been developed in Europe to create synergies in language instruction and language learning, e.g. the Curriculum Mehrsprachigkeit (Reich & Krumm, 2013) and the Gesamtsprachencurriculum PlurCur (Allgäuer-Hackl, Brogan, Henning, Hufeisen, & Schlabach, 2015). These multicompetence approaches break with the tradition of teaching languages separately and propose a joint work of language teachers to create synergies and new qualities in both learners and teachers. They underline the importance of multilingual awareness and aim at boosting multilingual competencies by applying recent findings in multilingualism research to language learning and teaching in school contexts. First, an overview of the linguistic situation in South Tyrol (a region in the north of Italy with three official languages: German, Italian, and Ladin) and its school system will be given. Next, the theoretical holistic background of the Mehrsprachencurriculum will be outlined and some teaching units developed within its framework will be presented. The window into my world will be from my perspective as a teacher and as a doctoral student of multilingualism and polyglottism through the lens of The Dynamic Model of Multilingualism (Herdina & Jessner, 2002). References: Allgäuer-Hackl, E., Brogan, K., Henning, U., Hufeisen, B., & Schlabach, J. (Eds.) (2015). Mehrsprachigkeit und multiples Sprachenlernen /Multilingualism and Multiple Language Acquisition and Learning: Vol. 11. Mehr Sprachen? – PlurCur!: Berichte aus Forschung und Praxis zu Gesamtsprachencurricula (1. Aufl.). Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Hohengehren. Herdina, P., & Jessner, U. (2002). A Dynamic Model of Multilingualism: Perspectives of Change in Psycholinguistics. Multilingual Matters: Vol. 121. Clevedon, Buffalo, Toronto, Sydney: Multilingual Matters. Reich, H. H., & Krumm, H.‑J. (2013). Sprachbildung und Mehrsprachigkeit: Ein Curriculum zur Wahrnehmung und Bewältigung sprachlicher Vielfalt im Unterricht (1. Aufl.). Münster u.a.: Waxmann. Retrieved from http://www.content-select.com/index.php?id=bib_view&ean=9783830979241 Schwienbacher, E. D., Quartapelle, F., & Patscheider, F. (Eds.) (2017). Handlungsfeld: Unterricht et Erziehung. Auf dem Weg zur sprachsensiblen Schule: Das Mehrsprachencurriculum Südtirol (1. Auflage). Köln: Carl Link.

Learning a language outside of the classroom — Ana de Medeiros

This presentation will be delivered as an interview by Ana de Medeiros of Bernadette Clinton and Raquel Tola Rego and will speak about the wider Hackney Project and the ways in which children have been enabled to learn Spanish outside of the curriculum time. The outcomes for each year are agreed but schools have been free to decide on their own curriculum organisation. This flexibility has allowed schools to embed the Spanish in a way that suits their own circumstances and to decide on their own staffing arrangements. The Spanish lessons have only been one part of the picture of how pupils are exposed to the language. Schools run Spanish Days, a Hispanic Week, use local and national resources and agencies and embed Spanish into the everyday so that the children see language learning as a living and evolving subject which can be part of a life-long learning project rather than a subject only to be studied in the classroom. A real audience for pupils is provided by each school having a partner school in a Spanish-speaking country. Participants: Bernadette is the MFL Consultant for Hackney Education Services, implementing Spanish in all Hackney schools. Raquel has more than 10 years’ experience teaching Spanish in EYFS, KS1 and KS2. She is pioneering the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programme in Hackney Ana is a strand co-lead in the Language Acts and Worldmaking research project – Languageacts.org

Languages as a key factor for my personal and professional development — Olga Koeva

To what extent can knowledge of languages contribute to enhancing of one’s world view (e.g. to getting more familiar with a certain culture)? How can mastery of foreign languages lead to better understanding of a style of music or a genre of literature? I would like to answer exactly these and many more questions in order to examine why the knowledge of all the languages I speak is an essential factor for my personal and professional development. Many aspects can be included: making new friends, understanding the values of a certain culture, having better access to music scores, reading literature in the original language or improvement of my academic writing and understanding of many linguistic topics. Languages have always played a pivotal role in my life and I thus cannot imagine my life without learning and improving languages. I even think in different languages which are not necessarily my mother tongues. As a bilingual and a polyglot speaking 13 languages including my both mother tongues (Bulgarian and Russian), I would like to tell the participants of the Polyglot Conference 2020 about my experience related to languages and to explain why languages are so essential to me and have become the windows into my world.

Tim Keeley - My Story – A Life Lived in 30 Plus Languages (Part 1 in RU, UK, BE, & PL) — Tim Keeley

I am in the process of writing “My Story” in multiple languages. It is my goal to compare similar languages in the process. This video is in Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Polish (including text in English).

The Linguistic Divide of the Two Koreas — Judy Um

At the end of World War II, when Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945, the Korean peninsula was split into two zones of occupation; North and South Korea. Ever since, the two Koreas have developed into two separate worlds, not only politically and ideologically but also linguistically. Over the past seventy years, the Korean language has greatly varied mainly due to opposite political ideologies. South Korea, upon adopting western values and market economy, has coined neologism and loanwords, whereas North Korea, has implemented a stringent linguistic policy that limits the use of foreign words and Chinese characters. The linguistic difference between the two Koreas is a window into the clash of ideologies, cultures, and leadership. Despite various differences between the two Korean languages, it is still possible to understand one another. However, the lexical and expression gap makes it difficult for many North Korean refugees in South Korea to adjust to society as their accent often makes them victims of discrimination. In this presentation, I will briefly review the history of the political divide, discuss the causes of the linguistic differences and demonstrate the differences by relating them to political, ideological, and cultural roots. I wish to utilize this as an opportunity in which language lovers, Korean learners and history/ politic fans ponder upon the values of languages, not merely as a tool of communication, but rather, a window into the world.

Exploring The African & Indigenous Roots of The Spanish Language in Latin America & The Caribbean — Tamara Marie

In the language learning community, the Spanish language is generally understood as fitting into one of two very broad categories: Peninsular Spanish from Europe and Latin American Spanish. The problem with this classification is that it ignores the diversity that developed within the Spanish language as it traversed the globe. The goal of this presentation is to give insight into how history and culture shaped the Spanish language as it arrived in the West, including its interaction with both the Africans that were taken with it and that of the native people of the Caribbean and Central and South America that were already there when the Spaniards arrived. We’ll examine the African and indigenous roots that influence the Spanish spoken in Latin America to this day, and explore the richness of the language’s Caribbean dialects which are often overlooked or labeled as “improper” Spanish.

EMPOWERING BOTH LANGUAGE LEARNERS AND TEACHERS THROUGH LANGUAGE COACHING TECHNIQUES — Marjolein Benschop

Language learners often become demotivated at some point during their language learning process. They may come to think they are simply not suited to learning languages, or perhaps that their teacher is unskilled and uses ineffective teaching methods. The teacher, on the other hand, can also feel frustrated and even insecure when a student does not learn as fast as they had hoped. There are a number of factors that should be explored when considering these challenges in the language learning context. To this end, this talk will address the potential benefits of language coaching, a new area in the language learning field. I will explain how language coaching can be used in the classroom to empower both the language learner and the teacher by focusing on smart goals, motivation, accountability and personalized strategies. I will discuss practical techniques that both language learners and language teachers can draw upon to facilitate the language learning process, making it more efficient and effective in and outside the classroom. In this way, I hope to provide tips and suggestions aimed at improving student and teacher satisfaction.

A Brief Glimpse into Balinese — Edmundo Luna

Balinese is an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Sumbawan subbranch (Adelaar 2005), primarily spoken by 3.3 million people (as of 2000) on the islands of Bali, Lombok, and transmigrant communities in Sulawesi and elsewhere. In this presentation, I will discuss the ramifications of Austronesian alignment in Balinese, as even though its verbal morphology is not as robust as a Philippine-type language, strong hints are still present, especially when one considers the covariation between possible word orders and verb affixation. I will also discuss the lexical stratification present in Balinese, and the consequences that has for any potential language learners. I will then discuss two of the quirkiest features of Balinese: first, its highly suppletive numeral system, where many of its higher order numerals originate from certain combinations of Chinese cash coins (called kepeng) – many of these cash coin combinations are still vital in Balinese rituals, which is partially why I argue that this numeral system has resisted regularization, even after long contact with Indonesian and related languages. Second, I will discuss how Balinese language has streamlined musical concepts into music pedagogy – and even daily discourse – through traditional solfege and verbal affixation. Finally, I will introduce some basic vocabulary and phrases anyone who visits Bali will most likely hear.

Tips for learning languages with completely different grammar and culture. -Apply a Japanese speaker's case to yours- — Yukiyo Odate

Tips for learning languages with completely different grammar and culture. -Apply a Japanese speaker’s case to yours- I would like to talk about some tips for learning a language which is completely different from your own native language. This presentation will be focused on what I believe are 3 main points, which language learners should know, if they would like to learn faster and learn a language in a culture respected manner, before learning a new language. Those 3 points, 1, Mindset of learners, 2, Cultural differences in terms of high context/ low context, and 3, Grammar differences showing interlanguage transition and steps will be introduced with examples of Japanese speakers who usually have difficulties in learning English. Those factors may be obstacle from learning faster, communicating well with less misunderstandings, or getting to a more advanced level. Several conversation cases in high context and low context between husband and wife, and boss and subordinate in Japan will be introduced, too. There is always a gap between what learners know and what they are actually able to use. The presentation includes the introduction of my practical way of self-training of the language learning applied interlanguage and exercise cases of interlanguage between Japanese and English. This will be very helpful for Japanese speakers who would like to learn English and at the same time, it may be also helpful for English speakers or Latin language speakers who would like to learn Japanese.

How Can Polyglots Become Translators? — Brian Loo Soon Hua

Bahasa Indonesia and Polynesian languages like Ka ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i and Te Reo Māori are distant relatives spoken in different parts of the vast maritime territory occupied by the Austronesian language family, one of the world’s largest language families. Many of these languages are spoken in isolated areas extremely distant from their genetic relatives and are therefore not in direct contact. For instance, the distance between Sumatra and New Zealand is greater than the distance between Ireland and Western China. If we take Malagasy, spoken on Madagascar off the coast of East Africa into account, the Austronesian languages are (at least in pre-Columbian times) the most widely-dispersed language family on Earth. The question is: Can Indonesians understand speakers of Polynesian languages such as Hawaiian and Maori? During this talk, Brian will explain a few of the complex sound changes and semantic shifts that hinder mutual intelligibility between some of the major languages in this remarkable language family. He will analyse some vocabulary as well as attempt to show that languages like Indonesian and Hawaiian have a lot more in common that we think. The results might surprise you! Brian is the resident “language guru” at uTalk and is also a moderator with The Social Element. In his spare time he likes writing and hiking as well as cooking traditional Malaysian food, the spicier the better.

Indigenous Languages and Their Contribution to the Global Lexicon — Emily Martyn

No-one knows exactly how speech evolved, which were the world’s first languages, or the precise migratory movements that led to the languages of the world today. Yet human languages are not islands. Words have been borrowed from one language to another since the dawn of time. Among these, indigenous languages have contributed a surprising amount of vocabulary to our modern global lexicon. Did you know that words like “chocolate”, “chili”, “avocado” and “tomato” come from Nahuatl? Or that “savanah”, “canoe”, “hurricane”, “iguana”, “papaya” and “potato” come from the Arawak languages of the Caribbean? Etymology has left us a trail of clues to follow that help us uncover the linguistic legacy left by our ancestors. Come prepared to open your minds (and ears!) to the surprising semantic links that span centuries and continents. Discover what this teaches us about our origins and how this legacy has a daily impact on your life. We will make use of an analysis of translations into 150 languages from the uTalk corpus to uncover hidden linguistic links, as well as tapping into our combined experience of studying and working in international environments.

O Vocabulário do Samba — Branca Andrade e Adriana Cardoso

O carnaval, considerada a maior festa popular brasileira, possui um universo próprio que engloba inúmeras tradições, música, danças e vestimentas, além de léxico próprio. Essas características distinguem essa festividade de qualquer outro fenômeno cultural desse país. No presente trabalho serão apresentadas, em forma de documentário, as principais características do carnaval e do “mundo do samba”, incluindo seus personagens, ritmos, formas de manifestação, fantasias, símbolos e danças predominantes. Serão apontadas informações históricas e um pouco da situação atual do carnaval, tanto “de rua” quanto o celebrado nas “avenidas do samba”. Serão comentadas também algumas palavras e expressões típicas desse contexto que permitirão melhor entendimento desse “universo” e da identidade cultural deste gênero musical e festa. O carnaval se tornou a manifestação cultural brasileira considerada mais democrática, uma vez que une todas as classes sociais por três dias, feriados oficiais, do ano. Trata-se do período em que é concedida a todos os “foliões” a liberdade de “serem quem quiserem”. Neste período as cidades ficam lotadas de pessoas fantasiadas em manifestações permeadas por alegria e diversão. E para entrar neste mundo basta querer.

Repressed Literacy and History — Phoebe Vitharana

Living in Central New York state, I am surrounded by a rich history of the Underground Railroad and fights for voting equality (suffragist movement). In the past, literacy and words were in chains as were slaves and the right for all to vote. It was most common for slaves and females to be illiterate. The exceptions are heroes in the unjust history of the slaves escaping through the Underground Railroad such as Harriet Tubman whose house is a part of a small historical tourism, especially in the pleasant summer of Central NY. I am sharing a personal narrative that represents my world region. Protesting through words to manifest the history of a cracked foundation/civil rights is a powerful tool that makes a movement grow. It can be impromptu like my participation in front of a Suffragist museum called the Jocelyn Gage house (PICTURE). It was a bit like being reborn into a year like 1968 that was full of protestors worldwide. Exposing rights through words of peaceful protest is empowering. It is what I would like to demonstrate to the world and part of that world being my son. (PICTURE). Supporters this time as opposed to the protesters in the Rodney King riots of the 1990’s Los Angeles, were much more mixed. It takes words to collect and sustain our convictions that civil rights matter, and thus BLM (key slogan examples). History remains alive through the words of protestors and local heroes that color regional history.

Relaciones entre los idiomas, los lenguajes de programación y las matemáticas — Matías Barmat

En primer lugar, se hará una breve introducción de las estructuras en común que comparten los lenguajes naturales, los lenguajes de programación y las matemáticas. En segundo lugar, vamos a repasar los paradigmas más comunes en informática, y explicaré con un ejemplo práctico cómo los idiomas pueden ser fácilmente computables y decodificables desde un punto de vista morfosintáctico. Finalmente, exploraremos el principio de relatividad lingüística a través de los índices de Greenberg.

Language and Disadvantage in Education — Kuntal Chatterjee

Language and Disadvantage in Education is a socio-anthropological analysis based on Irish and Bengali speech communities from specific regions. This presentation highlights the history of colonization, accounts of language supremacy, and other relevant details that solidified the cultural communities and dramatically changed the cultural perception for the larger public discourse. An important aspect of this presentation is based on the discussions of the constitutional provisions for language protection, standardization, and revitalization efforts by the federal government, in addition to language teaching and language accessibility in relation to academic spaces. Lastly, by analyzing the cultural aspect of Prestige, this discussion concludes with the promotion of Bilingualism, Organizing Summer Schools for Language Learning, and the importance of getting involved in policymaking.

The Best of Two Worlds: How Living in The UK Made Me More… Italian — Ermy Pedata

I am Italian (from Naples in the South of Italy) and I have lived in the UK for over 6 years whilst working here as a language coach. As an expat, I would like to compare and contrast both of my worlds, the “Italian world” and the “English world”, by sharing my experience of adapting to a completely different physical environment, learning a new language and exploring a different way of living life. I would like to share the “Italian way” and the “British way” of doing things and celebrate the best of both cultures. Living in the UK has gifted me with amazing experiences including being able to speak two languages fluently (English AND Spanish), teaching my native tongue and sharing my culture with Italian aficionados, exploring new places and finding like minded people I have built everlasting friendships with. It has allowed me to evolve and grow in a way that I would have never imagined possible. At the same time, my Italian habits, my “Italian attitude” to life, my Italian soul, have never left me and they are something I am proud to share (especially with the Brits!) and that I will forever treasure. I can nowadays say that I am living the best of both worlds and my aim with this presentation is to share just this.

What Is Special about Aramaic — Eric Reymond

The Aramaic language began as just one of many Semitic languages spoken in the Fertile Crescent thousands of years ago. Through a series of accidents, it became a crucial link between different peoples across Asia and even into Africa. The presentation isolates some of the interesting features of Aramaic that make it historically and culturally important, including the morphology of the language; the early alphabet that was used to write the language and its trajectory through different cultures; and the use of the language as a lingua franca in various empires. Aramaic morphology is slightly simpler than that of its near cousin, Hebrew. This relative simplicity may have contributed to (or be the result of) its use among so many different non-Aramaic speaking peoples and groups. The Aramaic alphabet, very close in appearance to other first millennium BCE alphabets like Phoenician and Hebrew, was the basis for later alphabets like the Arabic alphabet. The use of Aramaic in the Assyrian empire set the stage for Aramaic’s use as a common language of administration and diplomacy for later empires like those of the Babylonians and Persians. This, in turn, led to Aramaic’s use among most peoples throughout the Middle East in the first millennium CE, much like Arabic is used today.