ISF2017: Dying Words

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SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

149 West Hastings Street

Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4


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Indian Summer Festival 2017


Disappearing and threatened languages with Dr. Anvita Abbi

SUPPORTING PARTNER: Hari Sharma Foundation

SPONSOR: Creative BC

“A language is a dialect with an army and navy.” – Max Weinreich

One language dies every 14 days. By 2100, nearly half of the 7,000 languages that are spoken on earth will have most likely disappeared. At the beginning of the 15th century, some 15,000 languages were in currency. With the dawning of the age of European expansion, more than half of those languages have disappeared as a result of wars, genocide, legal bans and sheer economic force. To lose a language is like losing biodiversity, a loss of resources that have been built up over millennia.

Noted linguist Prof. Anvita Abbi is the recipient of the prestigious Kenneth Hale Award for her outstanding lifetime contributions to the description and documentation of languages of India. Her most recent work is on the history of the Andamanese language, which goes back to pre-Neolithic times and now facing extinction due to the pressures of modernity. On her previous visit to Vancouver as the ICCR visiting scholar at SFU, Prof. Abbi taught a field linguistics course to help students acquire the tools to analyze, document and help preserve the Haida language. She worked closely with Haida elder Lawrence Bell, one of the last native Haida speakers of the Massett dialect in the world.

Hear Prof. Abbi as she talks about the implications of the loss of language, metaphor, idiom and memory. She points too, to a real hope of language revival through the collaborative efforts of elders, younger second-language speakers and educational institutions.


5:30pm - Doors open

6:00pm - Event starts

Make an evening of it and join us for 'A Muse of Fire' immmediately after this event.

This event has been made possible with the support of SFU Woodwards (Community Partner)

ASL is available for this event! Please email to request ASL services before June 23rd.

For venue description and accessibility information: SFU Woodwards

Indian Summer Festival is made possible thanks to the wonderful support of:

Simon Fraser University (Founding Partner)

Langara College (Major Partner)

Heritage Canada, Province of BC, City of Vancouver - Cultural Services (Government Partners)

CBC, Georgia Straight & Spice Radio (Premier Media Partners)


What is the accessibility of this event?

ASL: There is ASL available for this show upon request - please email to request ASL before Friday June 23rd.

This event is a scent-reduced space; please refrain from wearing scented products while attending Indian Summer Festival events.

Mobility Access: Goldcorp Centre for the Arts is accessible by either the Hastings Street or Cordova Courtyard entrances. The Hastings Street entrance is at ground level, while the Cordova Courtyard entrance can be accessed by a ramp outside the Woodward's Westbank Atrium. The entrance to the ramp is across from JJ Bean Coffee, under the Stan Douglas Mural. Inside the building all venues are accessible by elevator.

When registering please continue to checkout where you will be prompted to select a wheelchair accessible seat.

All washrooms are accessible for wheelchairs and scooters.

There is no designated wheelchair accessible parking, only street and parkade parking around the neighbourhood.

Low Vision: This is a low vision friendly show. The programming itself is auditory. We offer one complimentary companion ticket for those who require assistance in order to attend.

Hearing Assist: Infrared hearing assist available upon request in the Cinema only - not in the World Art Centre

Bathrooms: There are sadly no single stalled non-gendered bathrooms located on the third or fourth floors at this venue. The multi-stall bathrooms opposite the elevators will be gendered and trans-inclusive. All washrooms are accessible for wheelchairs and scooters.

Seat Design: Varies by room within this building, please see event pages for most up to date room assignments. In the Cinema: Individual cinema seats, with cushioned arms. In the World Art Centre: Individual chairs, with metal arms.

Scent: Indian Summer Festival emails all ticket holders requesting that guests refrain from wearing scented products at all of our events. However, this venue does not have a permanent scent-free policy in place.

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

This is an all-ages event.

Is there reserved seating?

Seating is first-come first-served.

Will I be allowed in if I arrive late?

Latecomers will be permitted entry and seated by an usher at designated pauses in the show.

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SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

149 West Hastings Street

Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4


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