We are delighted to invite you to the fourth lecture of the 2022/2023 Spring semester of the American Studies Colloquium Series:

Ewelina Wnuk
(University of Warsaw)

English Language Bias and the Generalizability Problem in the Face of Global Linguistic Diversity

 This is an in-person event.

Thursday, May 25, 2023
at 4:45 p.m.

You can get 3 OZN points for participating in this event.


Dobra 55, room 2.118
(the building features some mobility accommodations: ramp and lift)


According to different sources, there are between 6,000 to 8,000 languages spoken in the world today. While linguists are continually making progress in documenting and describing this incredible linguistic diversity, many academic fields tend to rely on English as a model language and do not question the generalizability of findings from studies done with English speakers.

In this talk, I will illustrate how English is in some respects unusual and how focusing on it exclusively might provide a biased picture of language and the human mind. My primary focus will be on semantics of perception terms and everyday lexical categories we take for granted such as “blue”, “square”, and “smell”. To illustrate my points, I will use data from lesser-known languages, focusing especially on my empirical research with Maniq, an Austroasiatic language spoken by a small hunter-gatherer community in Southern Thailand. This data will be used to argue that—rather than being close analogues of English—languages are in fact extraordinarily diverse. Paying attention to this diversity is key to discovering not only the full scope of what is possible, but also the truly universal tendencies in how linguistic meaning is shaped.


Ewelina Wnuk is a research fellow at the Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Warsaw. She received a PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and has worked as a researcher at the Centre for Language Studies, Radboud University, and the Anthropology Department, University College London. Since 2009, she has been conducting fieldwork-based research among the speakers of Maniq – an Austroasiatic language spoken by a group of nomadic hunter-gatherers in Thailand. Her research interests include semantics, cross-linguistic diversity, and the relationship between language, culture, and the mind.

June 17-18: Polish-language conference „Jak uczyć o płci i seksualności? Interdyscyplinarność, instytucjonalizacja, zaangażowanie społeczne.”

June 11, 2024

Konferencja „Jak uczyć o płci i seksualności? Interdyscyplinarność, instytucjonalizacja, zaangażowanie społeczne” ma na celu stworzenie przestrzeni, w której mogą się spotkać społeczności akademickie, aktywistyczne, artystyczne, eksperckie tworzące i przekazujące wiedzę o płci i seksualności. Jaka mogłaby być dziś edukacja seksualna? Gdzie jest miejsce na feministyczny i queerowy aktywizm w akademii? Czy słowem kluczowym jest „równość” czy „nierówności”? Czy potrafimy wspólnie wyobrazić sobie studia magisterskie o płci i seksualności w Polsce? Zapraszamy na 6 paneli dyskusyjnych.

Year 2023/2024

June 11: Biosocial Groups, Biosocial Criminals – the Body and Medicine as Organizing Agents

June 11, 2024

Weird Fictions Research Group cordially invites you to the very last event this semester! The lecture will show how medical anthropology and cultural studies can shed light on medicine-related social and cultural phenomena.

Year 2023/2024

June 6: Marketing Barbie’s “Curvy New Body”: Mattel’s Fashionistas Line and its Legacy Brand Politics

June 6, 2024

We would like to invite you to an upcoming lecture given by a Fulbright Scholar, Doctor Rebecca C. Hains! During this lecture, you will have the pleasure of listening to Dr. Hains’s exploration of Barbie from the feminist perspective, the history of Barbie’s body type, and the feminist critique around it. The talk will also discuss the PR surrounding the “Curvy” Barbies’ release, a topic that has sparked many intense debates.

Year 2023/2024

June 5: Dissecting Theater: Medical Horror on Stage

June 5, 2024

Weird Fictions Research Group cordially invites you to a penultimate event this semester! We will discuss the ways in which medicine and theater are correlated and how medical horror stories can thrive on stage. We will explore the universal nature of theater by analyzing the sources of fear in Starkid’s The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals as well.


Three NCN Sonata grants for ASC scholars

May 26, 2024

Three ASC scholars – Dr. Jędrzej Burszta, Dr. Ludmiła Janion and Dr. Joanna Mąkowska were awarded scientific grants in the Sonata 19 competition organized by the National Science Center (NCN)