Upcoming Lecture on Language and National Identity in Europe


By Rachel Brichta
Mar 06, 2012

Writer, European Commission Official will talk as part of LSA Theme Semester on Language

ANN ARBOR, MICH., March 6, 2012–The Center for European Studies is pleased to announce that the Annual Distinguished Lecture on Europe will be given by Diego Marani, a novelist, translator, and newspaper columnist, who is currently serving as senior linguist and policy officer at the European Commission. He will talk about how languages preserve separate and distinct national identities, often undermining the full potential for unity within Europe. While the European Union has fostered cooperation across the continent on monetary, social, and legal policy, the EU shares no common language and its citizens are often unable to communicate with each other, and Marani will argue that this is problematic for truly meaningful integration. He will ask how Europe can build a common identity out of the melting pot of languages and national identities, and question whether the nation-state model can be applied to Europe as a whole.

Diego Marani works for the Directorate General for Interpretation of the European Commission, where he is in charge of international cooperation, training, and support to universities. Born in Italy, he received a degree in classical studies from the Liceo Ludovico Ariosto in Ferrara and in simultaneous interpretation and translation at the University of Trieste, specializing in French and English. Marani is the inventor of Europanto, an artificial mock language that imitates language unity to show its inadequacy for Europe. Through this exercise, he tries to demolish the dogmas of the European linguistic tradition and to question in a satirical way the sacredness of the nation-state. Marani has published many novels and essays and is a columnist, blogger, and commentator for Italian newspapers, including Il Sole 24 Ore, Il Fatto Quotidiano, and La Nuova Ferrara.

Mr. Marani’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Linguistics and is presented as part of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts’ Winter 2012 Theme Semester, “Language: The Human Quintessence.”

DATE: Thursday, March 15, 4:00 PM

PLACE: 1636 International Institute, 1080 S. University Ave, Ann Arbor

SPONSORS: Center for European Studies, Department of Linguistics

CONTACT: Nataša Gruden-Alajbegovic, 734-647-2743, cesmichigan@umich.edu

WEB LINK: www.ii.umich.edu/ces

The University of Michigan’s Center for European Studies (CES), a constituent of the University of Michigan International Institute and the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia, is a multi-disciplinary research, education, and outreach program dedicated to improving understanding of modern, integrated Europe at the University of Michigan. In 2001, CES received a grant from the European Commission to establish a European Union Center (EUC), and from 2005 to 2011 U-M’s EUC was designated a European Union Center of Excellence, one of ten in the United States. In collaboration with academic and research units across U-M, and institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Europe, CES offers an array of public programs, funding opportunities, and innovative curricular outreach on Europe, and sponsors the visits of European scholars, artists, and professionals to U-M and southeastern Michigan. For more information, visit www.ii.umich.edu/ces.

The Ronald and Eileen Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia (WCEE) supports faculty and student research, teaching, collaboration, and public engagement in studying the institutions, cultures, and histories of these regions. WCEE is housed in the University of Michigan International Institute with the Center for European Studies (CES); the Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies (CREES); and the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies (WCED). Named in honor of Ronald and Eileen Weiser and inspired by their time in Slovakia during Ambassador Weiser’s service as U.S. ambassador from 2001-04, WCEE began operations in September 2008. For more information, visit www.ii.umich.edu/wcee.

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