Language of Hate

25. April 2018 18:30

Anny und Dr. Lid King

Clear language – lucid, rational language – to a man at war with both truth and reason, is an existential threat, … a direct assault on his obfuscations, contradictions and lies … (As) we know to our cost: without clear language, there is no standard of truth. And that’s what language means to a linguist. Those who teach language, those who cherish its accuracy and meaning and beauty, are the custodians of truth in a dangerous age. (John Le Carré)
One of the main motivations and indeed justifications for language learning is its power to enable us to communicate and to understand the other. But it is not always the case that language is used for mutual understanding. It has often been a weapon used by those who aim to confuse, to undermine and ultimately to destroy. Such language of hate has if anything become “normalised” by the massive expansion of on-line communications as they are exploited both by those in power and by the anonymous purveyors of verbal intimidation.
In this talk we will reflect on the growth of on-line hate speech – historically and in the current period and consider ways that people are already developing a counter narrative and seeking to spread positive messages about the rich and diverse world in which we live.

Anny King is Emeritus Director of the University of Cambridge Language Centre and Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge. She is a specialist in innovative face-to-face and online language teaching and learning methods. She has worked with Thames TV and the BBC for many years as a consultant, writer and co-producer of their language programmes. She has led several development projects for online language learning materials, which have won her awards for their innovative approach, their flexibility and their appropriate use of technology. Presently she and her husband are involved in the European “Positive Messengers” Project aimed at developing counter-narratives to online hate-speech.

Lid King has extensive experience of languages teaching, pedagogy and materials development. As Director of CILT, the National Centre for Languages in the UK (1992-2003) he played a major part in expanding the work of the organization. Between Sept. 2003 and April 2011 he was National Director for Languages for England with responsibility for the implementation of the English Languages Strategy.

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