Language Science and Language of Science: LETI Hosted a Forum on Linguistics
The topics discussed at the fourteenth forum "The Palette of Languages and Cultures" included the characteristics of scientific discourse, digital technologies in linguistics, and the future of science.
On December 1, the Department of Foreign Languages of LETI held its fourteenth annual interuniversity forum "The Palette of Languages and Cultures" online. The theme of the event, dedicated to the impact of science on tolerance and the role of language in scientific discourse, was a quote by English philosopher Francis Bacon, "Science is but an image of the truth."
As part of the forum, a scientific conference was held with more than 100 participants. Andrey Shumkov, Head of the Department of Foreign Languages at LETI, opened the event with a greeting speech.
"I urge all participants to take a broad view of the theme of our forum. The organizer of the conference, the Department of Foreign Languages, can unleash the potential of talented students and great teachers through the breadth of views and issues raised."
Nina Shcherbak, Associate Professor at the Department of English Philology and Linguistic and Cultural Studies of St. Petersburg State University, presented a study of the works of William Shakespeare. Speaker's research group studied how the author used the concepts "watches" and "time," including when describing the psychological state of the characters. In Shakespeare's works, time is the enemy of characters that brings death closer. The interpretation of time changes in later works and corresponds to modernist authors. In the later texts, the writer begins to use an hourglass rather than a mechanical clock, which allows for more expressive control of time and the course of events.
Olga Zhuravleva, Associate Professor at the Department of Foreign Languages at LETI, told the audience how the city map reflects the acknowledgment of scientific achievements. The researcher presented the types of urbanonyms – the names of urban topographic objects – and the ways they can originate. Up to 60% of the names of streets and squares refer to people and their activities. Of these, 4% of places in St. Petersburg are named after scientists, 1% in London, 9% in Paris, 1.5% in New York, and 6% in Cairo, with no names of foreign researchers among them.
Emilia Bushuyeva, Professor of the Department of Linguistics and Translation at St. Petersburg Institute of Foreign Economic Relations, Economics and Law, made an overview of the history of folklore studies. The speaker listed the names of outstanding researchers whose works influenced the development of Russian and international ethnography.
The presentation on the impact digital technology has on science was made by Daria Glybovskaya, Assistant of the Department of Foreign Languages at LETI. For example, AI can analyze large amounts of information, solving data processing crises, and search engines for academic publications compare hypotheses and make new ones. The speaker presented advances in machine learning and neural networks and talked about how new technologies will advance the humanities. Innovations in open data, big data, data visualization, and crowdsourcing will help improve machine translation and computers' understanding of natural language texts.
The conference continued with breakout sessions. The presentations of the first section dealt with linguistics as a science, teaching methodology, phonetics, stylistics, and sociolinguistics. The second section was devoted to the relationship between language, culture and science, linguoculturology, and intercultural communication. The language of science and the connection between linguistics and philosophy were discussed in the third section.