Unconscious Patterns in Human Language: Q&A with Robert Hoberman

SigmaCamp is continuing the Q&A with Sigma lecturers series!
Our next lecture will be on Wed, June 3:

Unconscious Patterns in Human Language

by Robert Hoberman

Human language is like an iceberg: the vast majority of it is below the level of consciousness. ‎Linguistics is the science of language, taking as its data what people actually do when they use their ‎language (and not what they think they ought to do), and how children acquire their native ‎language. In this lecture, participants will probe their own intuitions about English and discover ‎surprising regularities in sounds, words, and sentences. We will then go on to examine some quite ‎different patterns in other languages. The overall goal is to understand that what is taught in English ‎and foreign-language classes only scratches the surface of what we unconsciously ``know'' when we ‎know a language.

About the lecturer:
Bob is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Stony Brook University. He has also held ‎teaching and research positions at Cornell University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, St. ‎Petersburg State University, and in Berlin. He works on the structure of Semitic languages, focusing ‎on Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic in both their classical and modern colloquial varieties. He has ‎studied several modern Aramaic languages through fieldwork with speakers from Iraqi Kurdistan ‎and Iran. He has also worked on Maltese, which, like Aramaic and modern Hebrew, is a Semitic ‎language that has undergone radical structural change in intimate contact with Indo-European ‎languages. He especially enjoys working with speakers of little-studied languages and dialects, to ‎document the languages and analyze their structures. He is also interested in writing systems, the ‎history of Yiddish, Jewish interlinguistics, and ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities in the ‎Middle East.

How it Works

  • View lecture. The lecture is posted below; you can view it at any time before the Q&A session. Or, if you prefer, join us for the group viewing of the lecture by joining our Zoom meeting at 3 pm EST on Wednesday, June 3
  • Submit questionsIf you have viewed the lecture in advance, think of the questions you would like to ask the lecturer. If you can, submit the questions in advance by using this spreadsheet; this will allow us to select the most interesting questions.
  • Join Q&A session. At 4 pm EST on June 3, join our zoom meeting to ask questions or just chat with the lecturer. One of Sigma Camp faculty will act as the moderator.

Please note that this lecture is open for everyone; feel free to invite your friends!