The Linguist

The Linguist 56,6 – December 2017/January 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 30 of 35 DECEMBER 2017/JANUARY 2018 The Linguist 31 INSTITUTE MATTERS An antidote to hate , For the inaugural David Crystal Lecture in October, Dr Lid King gave an impassioned talk on the rise of hate speech. Chris Pountain reports Implicit in CIOL's motto, 'Universal Understanding', is the assumption that knowledge of different languages is a liberating force for good. In the first David Crystal Lecture, held in conjunction with the Language Acts and Worldmaking OWRI Project on 21 October, however, Lid King showed us how language can also be used to deceive and to express hatred. The Languages Company, which Dr King founded, is a partner in the European Commission's project Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech. Speaking at the University of Westminster, he began by describing the context against which the learning of foreign languages has ceased to be the norm. Globalisation, which might have been expected to enhance diversity and multiculturalism, has in fact created uncertainties for many people with regard to their sense of belonging. The speed of change has had a profoundly disturbing effect on society, while the economic crisis has led to the acceptance of extremist views. The anonymity of the internet has also provided the medium for an exponential growth in hate speech, which is expressed not only through trolling on social media and the comments section of online newspapers, but even through games and music. The internet also encourages people to adopt opinions in 'echo chambers' which reinforce, rather than question, their own convictions. It has been demonstrated that hate speech peaks in the wake of terrorist attacks, and that it is not only xenophobic, but also directed against religion, sexual orientation and people with disabilities. Dr King pleaded the case for rethinking the role of language in schools and universities as an antidote to hate speech. Linguists have not spoken loudly enough about the importance of languages in general education. Circumstances have often been against us: the government shelved the 2003 National Languages Strategy, while the insistent demands of curriculum and assessment have also constrained us. But the study of languages should be a part of fundamental literacy. This was a moving lecture, illustrated by a number of profoundly shocking examples. It issued a challenge to those of us who value 'every language, every culture, every linguist' to make their views heard more clearly. To hear the lecture in full, visit For further information, see SPEAKING UP Lid King delivers the David Crystal Lecture COUNCIL NEWS Chair of Council, Karen Stokes, reports on the autumn meeting The October meeting began, sadly, with a recollection of our late President, Dr Nick Bowen, and an acknowledgement of the huge contribution he had made (see page 8 for a full obituary). On a happier note, we were pleased to welcome Head of Membership, Jane Galbraith, to her first meeting of Council, following Adam Ladbury's retirement as Deputy CEO. This was Council's first meeting of the new membership and financial year, and an opportunity to review progress against our strategic objectives over 2016-17. Among other things, CEO Ann Carlisle's report highlighted strong growth in the number of members and Chartered Linguists; the introduction of the pre-professional grades to support an expanding community of members; the establishment of the HE Language Partner scheme, with 13 universities in the UK and Hong Kong now on board; closer contact with member networks through regular meetings and streamlined organisational and financial support; continued updates to the website, allowing members to control their own profiles and preferences; an increase in social media activity and presence; and more sophisticated use of technology to enhance services for members and examination candidates. At the same time, sound financial management had produced a good surplus against budget. The October meeting is also when we approve and review a number of items. Accordingly, Council approved updated operational plans and the risk register for 2017-18, and the choice of scrutineers for the forthcoming elections. Rule changes to be presented to the AGM in March 2018 were approved, along with amendments to two clauses in the recently updated Code of Professional Conduct, in response to feedback from members. Updated data protection, environmental, risk, and equality, diversity and inclusion policies were approved, and reports received, along with the annual report on employment. Finally, Council noted the succession plans in place for various boards and committees, and discussed the future shape of the role of President. © CHRIS CHRISTODOULOU

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