Language in the Community

LDC took linguistics to the street on May 2, 2015, with a booth at the Philadelphia Science Carnival that featured three language-oriented educational activities.

Dialect Comprehension: modeled after William Labov’s Cross-Dialect Comprehension Project, participants competed to correctly guess a word spoken in US regional dialects. Words were played in isolation, in a short phrase and in a full sentence before we revealed the correct word and the location of the speaker.  
Language Recognition: participants listened to an audio sample and had to guess the language spoken from a set of answers. In addition to language fact sheets that displayed after each guess, the two-round game included ten questions and encompassed all eight languages spoken in the School District of Philadelphia.
Name Transliteration: an activity that generated name tags in any of six different alphabets. Once participants selected their alphabet, LDC staff phonetically transcribed their name into the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and then transliterated it into the requested alphabet – Arabic, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Hieroglyphics, Modern Greek or Tifinaghe. Each visitor watched an informational slide show on the features and culture associated with their selected language.

Hundreds of visitors stopped by the booth and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as did LDC staff.

The Philadelphia Science Carnival is an annual event organized by Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute to acquaint children and adults with the joys of science.