Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Precepted by Eve Droma

Current and Upcoming Modules

Learn Any Language Like a Baby — February 2023

All Modules

A Sociolinguistic Examination of Four Spring Holidays

In this module, we will discuss the origins and outworkings of four major holiday which occur this coming spring: Purim (March 6-7), Nawroz (March 21), Easter (April 9), and Eid al-Fitr (April 21). First, we will discuss the assigned literature and what we know about the culture in which the holiday first originated. Then, we will discuss how the holiday is currently celebrated in various areas of the world and in particular traditions. As we identify what people groups observe the holiday we will consider the anthropological specifications of those people groups in order to imagine in what ways the given holiday might form or reflect the cultural characteristics of that people group.

Designing an orthography for your language

Too many of today’s languages—natural or constructed—use the Roman writing system. While you listen to the shimmering notes of your con lang flow from your tongue or in your imagination, have you ever dreamed of a completely new way of writing? This course will guide you through factors to consider while designing a writing system for your created language by investigating real-life orthography development for living, unwritten languages.

How to write a grammar

This course will introduce you to some of the basic laws of universal grammar and guide you through the process of writing an analysis of any language.

Learn Any Language Like a Baby

Perhaps you studied Spanish or French in high school, yet--frustratingly--can’t give your order for chilaquiles or soupe à l'oignon today. This course will provide you with a method for learning any language in the world by meeting with someone who has no experience in teaching their language--and learn in a way that will make the language stick! This “Growing Participator’s Approach” uses methods based on how children learn language. You will learn how you can grow into the language (and the culture) rather than just memorize vocab and rules.

Learn the IPA

No, not India Pale Ale! Learn exactly how to pronounce the particular sounds represented by the little squiggles and upside-down characters you find in some dictionaries. Ever wanted to be a Prof. Henry (not Sorina) Higgins and copy down an accent with perfect accuracy? The International Phonetic Alphabet is your key! This course will allow you to start to learn each of the symbols of the IPA, which will introduce you to each and every sound used meaningfully in the world’s languages, living, dead, or imaginary.

Natural or Synthetic?

As we all know, Tolkien drew heavily from Finnish for his languages. Learn more about the universal laws of grammar for natural languages in order to make your created language more appealing, vibrant, and convincing. In this course, we will explore basic facts about phonetics and phonology, general patterns about how natural languages do and do not encode meaning, the range of functions of parts of speech, and syntactical and morphophonemic nuances. We will examine the building blocks of languages which have actually been or are being spoken in everyday life in the primary world so you can enrich languages perhaps only ever expressed by your characters, only ever on the page.

Novel Romani: Gypsies in Victorian & Modern British Literature

Members of various Romani peoples (aka “Gypsies”) came to the British Isles in the 16th century and have been portrayed in British literature in varying ways since. Often stereotyped, profiled, vilified, objectified, and mocked by establishment authors, Gypsies have also been described in terms of desirable characteristics, such as freedom from convention, energy and charisma, vast stores of traditional or global knowledge, spiritual insight, liberation from traditional capitalist restrictions or national identities, and seductive romance. In this course, we’ll read scholarly articles and primary sources to learn about how 19th- & 20th-century authors in the British Isles depicted and understood this complex group of peoples.

PST! Trees Grow Great Grammar Fruit!

Do you love diagramming sentences? Are you interested in languages other than English? Phrase Structure Trees are a wonderfully helpful tool for analyzing the grammatical structure of any language: living, historical, or constructed. If you love the thrill of exploration, you will enjoy getting to discover the grammar of a language by drawing trees, rather than by wading through murky grammar textbooks.

Ransom The Field Linguist? A Sociolinguist’s Reading

Have you ever read The Space Trilogy and been bothered at how terribly quickly and well Ransom picked up the heavenly languages? Let’s be bothered together! This module will look at each and every mention of philology in Lewis’s other worldly series and analyze what exactly Ransom would have needed to do in each learning situation, evaluate whether the language and culture learning was realistic, and along the way discuss how philology differs from field linguistics.

Translation Principles: Adventures in Multilingual Comparison

Reading a text in multiple languages affords not only a fascinating look at the text but also insights into the process of translation. Participants of this module are each encouraged to bring a translation of the New Testament in a language other than English. Together, we will read through the book of 1 John, verse by verse, considering what translation choices were made for each language represented. We will discuss what we know about the conditions under which each translation was made and consider what we know about the respective cultures in order to investigate what motivated particular choices. As a side benefit, we will marvel at the widely diverse ways languages encode meaning and we will learn interesting facts about grammar in general.

This course will be most beneficial for people who have at least a basic reading ability in any language other than English.

Workshop Your Constructed Language

If you are currently in the process of constructing a language, this module is for you. Bring all of your language data and together we will work to refine it, develop it, buff it, and expand it. We will look at what sounds you are currently using, how you are combining them, whether you want to incorporate more “exotic” sounds and how, etc. Then, we will dive into looking at ways to make your grammar more complex, natural, and unique. Finally, we will consider your language’s history. Your preceptor will share cool tools used for analyzing (this earth’s) understudied languages. At the end of this module, your language will have a richer life of its own and will sound and work even more extraordinarily with the life, energy, and uniqueness of any living, breathing language.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].