Place, Belonging and Language in North-West Greenland: Some Initial Thoughts

13 February 2012, 17:15 - 19:00


Dr Stephen Pax Leonard (Research Fellow in Linguistics,  University of Cambridge)


Place, language and kinship collaborate to create a strong sense of belonging which helps to define an extraordinary community in north-west Greenland. Belonging is rooted in the nuna or local cosmos which is shared by a small, dense network of kin relations. But, it is a sense of belonging that needs to be reaffirmed, maintained and nurtured. The Inugguit understand that their language of 770 speakers and their hunting on the sea ice way of life set them apart from the rest of the world. But, they also understand the threats to this ancient, non-negotiable identity: the principal one being climate change. This paper presents some initial thoughts on how place and belonging are intertwined to create such a tight-knit community, but also speculates as to the relationship between sense of place and experience of language.



Open to all. No registration required

Part of the Taking Place seminar series.
For more information about the group, please visit the link on the right hand side of this page.

Related link: Cambridge Endangered Languages Cultures group-CELC