Languages Faculty Forum-Josh Brown: Murder most multilingual | WisCommunity

Murder most multilingual: At the crossroads of forensic linguistics & historical sociolinguisticsAlthough William Penn mandated in theGreat Law of Pennsylvania(1682) that all court proceedings are to be held in English, Duke de La Rochefoucauld—travelling there in the late eighteenth century—ridiculed Pennsylvania's justice system, because no one could understand English. A great number of rural Pennsylvanians, descendants of between 60-100,000 immigrants from the Rhineland and Palatinate regions of central Europe, spoke Pennsylvania Dutch both alongside and to the exclusion of English. In this presentation, I will share three nineteenth century murder trials from Pennsylvania's "Dutch Country" in which language complicated the administration of justice. The overall goal is to show that historic multilingualism is significantly relevant to the present, though it is often overlooked in contemporary studies of multilingual societies.

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Dec 3 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm