Were 18 languages spoken in New Amsterdam?

The New Amsterdam History Center


Tuesday, October 11, 2022 

6 – 7:30 PM


Ross Perlin

Co-Director, Endangered Language Alliance

In conversation with

Peter-Christian Aigner

Director of The Gotham Center for New York City History

As part of his forthcoming linguistic history of New York, linguist Ross Perlin explores how the new port, New Amsterdam, was Native American, African, and European from the beginning, with the template for the city’s extraordinary multilingualism thus set at the very start of Dutch rule.

Ross Perlin (PhD University of Bern) is Co-Director of the Endangered Language Alliance, managing research projects on mapmaking, documentation, policy, and public programming for urban linguistic diversity.  He is a linguist, writer, and translator focused on exploring and supporting linguistic diversity.  He has also written on language, culture, and politics for The New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s, and elsewhere.  He teaches linguistics at Columbia. In 2021-22 he was a Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation writing fellow at CUNY’s Gotham Center. 

Peter-Christian Aigner is an historian of twentieth-century America (PhD, The Graduate Center, CUNY). He is the author of a work on Daniel Patrick Moynihan and is currently working on a second book, re-conceptualizing local and national history from a modern global perspective.  Dr. Aigner has published essays in The Nation, The Atlantic, and The New Republic.  As head of the Gotham Center, he leads all programming. At his initiative, the organization has introduced a variety of new programs, including the establishment of its first research grant.

This program is offered free of charge.  Your voluntary contribution will help support NAHC projects and programs such as this one.