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Parseltongue and Estonian Swedish

Two talks: one on the language Parseltongue, recently realised for Harry Potter movies and the other on the nearly extinct dialect Estonian Swedish

Professor Nolan will give two presentations:

“Lateral developments in Estonian Swedish”

This talk reports on the unusual liquid system (the laterals and rhotics) of the variety of Swedish historically spoken in the west of Estonia. Retroflex flaps and voiceless lateral fricatives (like the Welsh ‘Ll-‘) both occur as realisations of /l/. Time is running out for study of the dialect as the speakers are mostly over 80.

“Parseltongue: an application of linguistics”

In some of the Harry Potter films the language used to communicate with snakes is heard. The books give no clue as to the nature of Parseltongue, and it fell to Francis Nolan to define and create the language – or at least a fragment of it. The talk shows how the resultant speech is based on ‘sound’ principles, and indeed principles applying at other levels of linguistic analysis too.


Professor Francis Nolan | talks | www


Date and Time:

31 March 2014 at 12:00 pm


1 hour



English, Middlesex University
The Burroughs
+44 20 84 11 65 55

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Additional Information:

All welcome. This talk takes place in Room C209, College Building, Directions to campus here:


Free and open to all. Contact Billy Clark for further details:

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