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Amelia C. Murdoch 2013 Speaker Series

Postmonolingualism and the Polyglot Urge: What It Means and What’s Left Behind

Sunday April 21, 2013 - 2-4 pm - Presented by Michael Erard, Ph.D.


(American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be offered.)
Sometimes it seems that learning another language -- and sometimes several languages -- is growing more visible, if not actually becoming more popular as a pursuit. In his book about hyperpolyglots, Babel No More, Dr. Erard explored the neuroscience behind language learning talent and language accumulation. In this talk, he explores the culture and politics that shapes the urge to change one's brain, one's self, and one's status in the world through learning foreign languages even when one isn't part of a local multilingual community.

Michael Erard is an author, linguist, and senior researcher at the FrameWorks Institute. His second book, Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners, was published in 2012, and is currently working on a third book about alphabet makers in the modern world. He is also a member of the Museum's Board of Trustees.

Past Events


Introduction to Arabic Calligraphy

Around the Language World

Beyond Words

Boogeymen, Spirits, and Specters: Stories of Fear, Wonder, and Haunting from Brazil


Chinese Poetry


Emerging American Language in 1812

Family Language Learning

Silent Auction


National Virtual Translation Center

Oral Literature and Performance in Ancient Israel

Oral Traditions of Quechua

People and Languages of the Middle East




Telegraph to the Internet

World Englishes

Writing an Unwritten Language



Natural Language Processing Research at DARPA

Black American Sign Language: The Sociohistorical Foundation


As space is limited, please register to let us know you would like to attend.