What do hostility and hospitality have in common? Well, both words have the same linguistic etymology: a word meaning ‘stranger’. The forked journey of this word is the result of two contrasting attitudes: the “Other” as a guest, and the “Other” as an enemy. It is often said that language is a window into the human mind. In many cases, the words we use say more about us than about the world outside of us. As our world and our perception of it change, so do our vocabulary. How do words originate? How do they travel in time and space? And which stories do they carry with them?
This programme is a combination of animated storytelling and an interactive workshop. Through animated stories we will examine the peculiar roots of words in the English or Dutch language, the traces of other languages in our linguistic heritage, new linguistic forms as a result of language contact and lexical innovations in urban vernacular varieties.
Why are black and white not just philosophically but also linguistically the same thing? Why are Europeans linguistically ‘wide-eyed’? What does the word slave have to do with the word Slavic and how are the Flemish linked to flamenco? These and many more questions will be answered in this programme that has a special focus on Europe.