Language contact

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


PhD scholarships for ‘Language Contact in Indonesia’ at the University of Leiden

by Jeanette Sakel

This is particularly relevant for those of you who have already done an MA (or are doing so right now) and who want to pursue a PhD in contact studies / fieldwork (based in The Netherlands for this project):

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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Bristol Centre for Linguistics talk on the history of English AND language contact

by Richard Coates

You are invited to our Bristol Centre for Linguistics seminar, Wednesday 5 February 2014, room 3E24, 1300-1400

Richard Ingham (Birmingham City University): The role of Anglo-Norman in the history of English: shift-induced contact influence?

[This talk is highly relevant to level 3 students on ‘the Cultural History of the English Language’ and ‘Language Contact and Bilingualism’, as well as level 1 and 2 students who want to study these subjects in more detail]


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Bristol Centre for Linguistics seminar by Petros Karatsareas

by Jeanette Sakel

All are welcome to the seminar Petros will give at the BCL (Bristol Centre for Linguistics) next week:

Wednesday, 4.12.2013      1-2pm       in 3E24

He will talk about his research on the interface between historical linguistics and contact linguistics, looking at a variety of Greek that has been in close contact with other languages, and investigating a number of claims as to whether some of the features in this variety are due to contact – or could be due to historical developments. This will be particularly useful for students of ‘Language Contact and Bilingualism’ at level 3 – but all others are very welcome, too. Continue reading

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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