Monday, May 27, 2013

Linguistics conference in Cologne

This past week I had the privilege of going to a conference on Nilo-Saharan languages (of which Ik is one) in Cologne, Germany. My good friend Robert Lane accompanied me on this journey. Every three years, a group of about a hundred scholars and students come together for three days to get to know each other and share what they've been studying about this fascinating language family.

So last Monday Robert and I flew into Schiphol airport near Amsterdam. Here we are enjoying our first taste of European cuisine:

That very evening we took the train to Cologne and got settled in. We enjoyed many hours of walking through the streets of this beautiful city that dates back at least to Roman times:

We climbed the magnificent Dom, a cathedral that took over 800 years to complete. It's so big it doesn't fit in a single picture or even in your mind. Here's a couple views from atop one of its spires:

Robert and I both LOVE to eat, so we really enjoyed the German, Turkish, and Greek food we found around the town. Here's some German appetizers and famous Bratwurst:

At the conference, we got to hear many presentations on different things people are studying in the Nilo-Saharan language family. Here I am presenting something I discovered about the Ik language:

Robert and I got to hang out quite a bit with Sam Beer, an American guy studying Nyang'i, a language related to Ik:

One of the coolest parts of the week was getting to meet some of the well-known scholars in the field of African linguistics. The first photo below shows me with Bernd Heine, a German linguist who did work in Ik in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Much of what I know about Ik I learned from his writings. The second photo shows me with Gerrit Dimmendaal, an expert on Turkana and on African languages in general. It was a real honor to meet these men:


Larry said...

What a joy for you to have connected with these giants in the field. Yes, I'm in awe! Humbled my your steady rise from "throwing boxes for brown" to moving a challenging language from oral to print. Rock on dude!

Glad you had some down time with good friends...

Rich and Sally Hoffman said...

Willkommen in Koeln -- we are also in awe (no pun intended☺☺!) at your not only meeting Heine at last (were Koenig and Serzisko there as well?), but getting to make your OWN excellent presentation and contribution to the Institut. And good to meet Sam with his work on Nyang'i as well. Congratulations☺☺!

Anonymous said...

What fun! Can't believe you got to meet Bernd Heine!

Özer Utku said...

One of the cities in Europe to live in Cologne. I traveled for a week and liked it very much. I have written here.

Vernita said...

This is cool!