Voices from the Past: 19 – 20 November 2021

PhilSoc members may be interested to know about the following event, taking place this coming week and featuring contributions from members of the society. Organised by the Institute for Digital Archaeology, the ‘Voices from the Past’ symposium will take place in Oxford and online (Zoom).

It is free to register on the symposium website, where you can obtain a Zoom link via the booking form (there are unlimited Zoom spaces). It should be an accessible event for non-specialists as well as those with more prior expertise, so please do share this link with other interested parties.


Voices from the Past
Friday 19th – Saturday 20th November 2021, Oxford, UK


Voices from the Past brings together specialists working broadly on how people spoke in the past – and why this matters – in a unique, inventive symposium. Academics and practitioners share their research and discoveries on a range of topics, from how pronunciation can be meticulously reconstructed from contemporary sources through to practical conundrums in advising actors and directors on original pronunciations. This exciting event showcases the the state-of-the art of these different approaches, concerns, and priorities from cutting-edge leaders in the field. 

This symposium owes its origins to the Keats Bicentennial Event  on 23 February 2021, commemorating the two hundredth anniversary of the poet’s death. This exciting collaboration between experts from numerous fields brought Keats to life in CGI form, dressed in his likely attire in the room in which he died at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome. The IDA’s CGI Keats wrapped up the event in thrilling style, reciting his last poem ‘Bright Star’, voiced by Broadway star Marc Kudisch, in the pronunciation painstakingly reconstructed by Dr. Ranjan Sen.

We are delighted to continue exploring the theme of reconstructing historical forms of language in its socio-historical context in this symposium, bringing together views from many angles to facilitate a unique perspective on this exciting enterprise.
Speakers include:

Joan Beal, Emeritus Professor of English Language, University of Sheffield and the Principle Investigator on the Eighteenth-Century English Phonology Database (ECEP) project. 
John Coleman, Professor of Phonetics, University of Oxford. Learn more about Dr. Coleman’s Ancient Sounds Project. 
Aditi Lahiri, Professor of Linguistics, University of Oxford, Honorary life member of the Linguistics Society of America, Fellow of the British Academy, and winner of the Leibniz Prize and Professor Sukumar Sen Memorial Gold Medal.
Chris Montgomery, Senior Lecturer in Dialectology, University of Sheffield. Specialist in non-linguists’ perceptions of language variation and real-time reactions to regional speech, as well as wider field of folk linguistics and language attitudes.
Yvonne Morley-Chisholm, Vocal coach, Associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the National Theatre, and vocal profiler for the Richard III Project. 
Ranjan Sen, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, University of Sheffield and voice reconstruction consultant on the CGI Keats projects, and co-investigator on the ECEP project.
Graham Williams, Senior Lecturer in the History of English, University of Sheffield. Expert in the pragmatics of Medieval and Early Modern Englishes, historical letters, and palaeography. 

The Symposium features an online Q&A with David Crystal, Honorary Professor of Linguistics, University of Bangor, writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster, and curator of the Original Pronunciation website. 

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