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South Street Seaport Museum Announces Free Program Language City: The Fight to Preserve Endangered Mother Tongues in New York

April 10 @ 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM


On Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 6:30pm, join the South Street Seaport Museum and author, linguist, and co-director of the non-profit Endangered Language Alliance, Ross Perlin, for a unique look at the linguistic diversity of New York City as explored in his new book, Language City: The Fight to Preserve Endangered Mother Tongues in New York.

In this free program, Perlin will share his race against time to map little-known languages across New York and will present a portrait of contemporary New York illustrated through six speakers of little-known and overlooked languages deep in their communities, from the streets of Brooklyn and Queens to villages on the other side of the world. Perlin will explore the languages themselves, from rare sounds to sentence-long words to bits of grammar that encode entirely different worldviews.

On the 100th anniversary of a notorious anti-immigration law that closed America’s doors for decades and the 400th anniversary of New York’s colonial founding, Perlin raises the alarm about growing political threats and the onslaught of “killer languages” like English and Spanish.

Sign up today to learn about some of the languages spoken around New York. Advanced registration is suggested for this free event but walkups will be accommodated as possible. seaportmuseum.org/language-city

Q&A and reception with complimentary beverages will follow. Language City: The Fight to Preserve Endangered Mother Tongues in New York, will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

About the Author

Ross Perlin is a linguist, writer, and translator focused on exploring and supporting linguistic diversity. His book Language City: The Fight to Preserve Endangered Mother Tongues in New York is out this year from Grove. Since 2013 he has been Co-Director of the Endangered Language Alliance, managing research projects on mapmaking, documentation, policy, and public programming for urban linguistic diversity. He also teaches linguistics at Columbia. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s, and elsewhere, and his first book Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy ignited a national conversation about unpaid work.

About the South Street Seaport Museum

The South Street Seaport Museum, located in the heart of the historic seaport district in New York City, preserves and interprets the history of New York as a great port city. Founded in 1967, the Museum houses an extensive collection of works of art and artifacts, a maritime reference library, exhibition galleries and education spaces, working 19th century print shops, and an active fleet of historic vessels that all work to tell the story of “Where New York Begins.” seaportmuseum.org

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April 10
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM


South Street Seaport Museum
12 Fulton St
New York, NY 10038 United States
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(212) 748-8600
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