Bilingualism

Fleshing Out the Theorists – Uriel Weinreich

by Craig Evans

In anticipation of one of my third-year module options, Bilingualism and Language Contact, I thought I’d investigate one of the more prominent theorists in the field. Here’s a short portrait of the individual behind the theory…

A time of war: of mass population displacement, of destruction and upheaval, of new beginnings in the midst of chaos. It was also the time of Uriel Weinreich’s formative teenage years. Weinreich was 13 when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. When it happened, the young Weinreich, who came from Wilno in the east of the country, was with his parents in Copenhagen. Weinreich’s father, Max, a renowned linguist specialising in the Yiddish language, was travelling with his family to the International Congress of Linguists in Brussels when they heard the news. Soon after, the Soviet Union advanced into east Poland, and the long-disputed territory of Weinreich’s birthplace, Wilno, was handed over to Lithuania, readopting its old name Vilnius. Europe was in the grip of war, the future seemed bleak and uncertain, and the best option left for the Weinreichs was to seek a new life in America. Continue reading

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The languages of Bolzano/Bozen

by Jeanette Sakel
I recently gave an invited talk in Bolzano/Bozen in Northern Italy, and I could not help but be amazed by the linguistic situations of the Alto Adige/Südtirol region of Italy. And since there is even a Guardian article about the language situation in this region today, I decided it was time for a new blog post.
Südtirol used to be part of The Austrian-Hungarian Empire, but became part of Italy at the end of the First World War. Yet, even a century later, the majority of people in this region still feel Austrian, or if not Austrian then at least ‘more’ Austrian than Italian. Local varieties of German are typically spoken here by the majority of local inhabitants. High German is only really used in highly official situations, if at all.

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Decisions Decisions – Third-Year Module Choices

by Craig Evans

‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood / And sorry I could not travel both’ – Robert Frost

 

Friday’s module option fair has left me in a bit of a quandary. What to do, what to do? From the start I was certain about three of the four options, and I had hoped the fair would help me make up my mind about the fourth. Alas, it has not! I am stuck between two choices, but come 12 noon tomorrow (when the online module choices open), for better or worse, I will make my decision.

It is not a decision to be taken lightly, though. How do we want to spend our final year studying English Language and Linguistics at UWE: will it be with lecturers we favour? Are we going to allow ourselves to be swayed by what our friends choose? Or will we base our decision entirely on the module content?

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Language in Gibraltar: A Tale of the Tongue of Two Errant Mothers

by Craig Evans

A warm summer’s stroll along a typical British high street, familiar shop facades passing by -Mothercare, BHS, Monsoon – and then the sudden loud report of cannon fire: ‘I just wanna pop into Marks and Sparks!’ The broad Yorkshire accent sounded unreal, as if it were being put on, but there was nothing in the flushed solemn face of the speaker to suggest that she was pretending. I paused to listen out for others. Fragments of Estuary English drifted by, but mostly my ears were met with a sea of Spanish, or at least what sounded like Spanish. The British high street receded from my thoughts, and then I remembered where I actually was: the south coast of Spain, on a small peninsula poking out towards Africa. This is Gibraltar, mid-October.

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