TORCH Goes Digital! Languages

"A different language is a different vision of life."

- Federico Fellini

Good morning, and welcome to the eleventh week of #TORCHGoesDigital! How fantastic to think that we have already seen ten weeks of this incredible online programme of events and content. This week, we will be focusing on the theme of “Languages”. 

Blue globe, yellow background, text reads "Languages"

In its simplest form, a language is a structured form of communication. Questions related to the philosophy of language have abounded since the time of Ancient Greece, when Gorgias and Plato pondered whether words can represent experience. Rousseau argued that language originates from emotions, whilst Kant countered that it originated from rational and logical thought. 

It is thought that there are between 5,000 and 7,000 human languages spoken the world over, although people debate on the distinction between languages and dialects. It is fascinating to study the properties of productivity and displacement inherent to human language, which, due to its complex structure, affords a much wider range of expressions than any other system of animal communication.

We are incredibly grateful to everyone who tuned in to watch our eighth Big Tent, Live Events!  live-streamed discussion last Thursday - Living with Pandemics: Finding New Narratives. Dr Erica Charters and Robin Gorna examined how societies have responded to pandemics, throughout the world, and throughout time. The event was an enormous success. #TORCHGoesDigital! and our Big Tent, Live Events! would not be the successes they are without your interest, appreciation and interaction.

Working with the great wealth of material created by the incredible researchers at the University of Oxford and beyond, the TORCH Team has curated a brilliant programme of blog posts, podcasts, news articles, poems, performances and more for you to enjoy. 

This week, we will be considering questions such as:

  • How can learning Latin change your life? 

  • How can we analyse large volumes of online text?

  • What are some ways of belonging and speaking in North-West Greenland?

  • Where do the names Atticus, Daphne, Chloe, and Hector originate from? 

This Thursday 4th June 2020, from 5-6pm, we have our next Big Tent Live Event, Creative Multilingualism with Katrin Kohl (Medieval and Modern Languages) and Rajinder Dudrah (Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries, Birmingham City University).

Remember, we are happy to feature content submissions related to this theme, be it a poem, artwork, blog post, or book review!

Unleash your creativity, and send your suggestions and content to