Speculation: The Value of Languages in Uncertain Times

Western media often tells consumers that multilingualism is good for them and that it constitutes an important economic asset for society. Advertisements for language schools promise that learning a foreign language will result in better jobs and pay, while educational policies stress the importance of language learning for future professional success. Businesses are happy to highlight the multilingual skills of their workers as proof of their international character. All these arguments link language skills with access to the job market, increased salary, creativity, and high work productivity in a world that is internationally interconnected, service- and information-oriented -- and, as such, highly multilingual. This talk provocatively challenges the main premise of these discourses and argues that the value of languages is highly speculative. Only under certain conditions does language emerge as economic capital; under other conditions, a multilingual repertoire can instead become the object of exploitation, hence reproducing existing forms of social inequalities.


Speaker: Alexandre Duchêne, Professor of Sociology of Language
Chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures
University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Moderator: Vicente Lledó-Guillem, Professor of Spanish, Hofstra University

Presented by the Hofstra Cultural Center


Date: Thursday, April 19, 2018

Time: 4:30 p.m.

Location: Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library

This event is free, but advance registration is required. Please RSVP using the RSVP for this Event link below.


For more information and a complete schedule of series, please call the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669 or visit hofstra.edu/culture.



Thursday, April 19, 2018





Cultural Center Theater - Leo A. Guthart
Guthart Cultural Center Theater
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549


Hofstra Cultural Center

Phone: 516-463-5669
Website: Click to Visit

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