InterSpeech 2012

Into the Wilderness: First Contact

Rex Ziak, Guest Speaker

Explorers who first visited remote regions of the world often encountered indigenous tribes that spoke languages unlike anything ever imagined. Nevertheless, communication was essential. An excellent example of such cross-lingual encounters can be found in the journals of the American explorers Lewis and Clark.

During their transcontinental expedition across North America in 1805 Lewis and Clark met fifty-two aboriginal tribes. Their journals describe each encounter and the techniques they used to bridge the communication and cultural gap. This lecture will highlight several of these conversations to show the variety of approaches Lewis and Clark used to comprehend spoken and gestured communication.

In addition Rex Ziak will display the power of speech in a real-world educational experience. To demonstrate this he will combine a well-told story with simple visual aids in a way that will create an indelible impression on the audience's memory.