News Release, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
St. Mary’s College of Maryland anthropology department presents Ellen Contini-Morava as the spring’s Distinguished Scholar on Wednesday, April 3, 4:45 p.m. in Cole Cinema, Campus Center. The lecture is free of charge and open to the public.
Titled, “Why is a raven like a writing-desk? How and why languages sort the world,”Contini-Morava will examine how some languages sort words into larger categories called “genders” or “noun classes,” or refer to things with special words called “classifiers.” She will illustrate this from languages such as German, Swahili, Menominee (Algonquian), Mandarin Chinese, and American Sign Language, showing the bases for classification (like gender, shape, size, and culturally-specific associations), and what communicative work these classification systems do.
Contini-Morava is currently an anthropology professor from the University of Virginia. She specializes in meanings and discourse functions of grammatical forms, pragmatics, linguistic theory and method, African linguistics (especially Bantu), and noun classification.