Interview with Wayles Browne--February 8, 2013

Interview with Wayles Browne, professor of linguistics at Cornell University. Interview conducted in Ithaca, NY on February 8, 2013.

Browne is a Slavic linguist specializing in Serbo-Croatian (or BCS - Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian). He has published on a variety of themes in Slavic and general linguistics and has taught nearly every Eastern European language during his time at Cornell. 

Interview Themes

On studying Slavic at Harvard in the time of Roman Jakobson (1:50)
Linguistics as an interdisciplinary field (10:47)
What is language? (12:55)
How languages evolve and become standardized (18:30)
Language as a national symbol and its relation to conflict (23:43)
Observing the fall of Yugoslavia as a linguist and someone with an attachment to the region (25:00)
On what drew people to Yugoslavia in the 1970s (29:30)
How Browne experienced Yugoslav federalism and its benefits/shortcomings (32:15)
Languages and dialects, from Slovene to Genoese (38:00)
Commonalities between Balkan/Southeastern European languages and languages that borrow structures--rather than simply vocabulary--from other languages (45:01)
Delights and challenges of translation from BCS (53:45)
What Browne has found gratifying in his career (57:47)
Changes in the field of linguistics and how Browne relates to them (1:03:25)
[apologies for the abrupt end to the interview due to a technical failure]
To access the interview, click here: