ACADEMICS from two of Spain’s universities have visited Gibraltar to discuss research of its unique language and literature.

Professors Elena Seoane from the University of Vigo and Cristina Suarez-Gomez from the University of the Balearic Islands met with Minister for Culture John Cortes.

Cortes is the chairman of the recently formed Gibraltar National Book Council that wants to promote local literature and authors.

The two academics were interested in finding out more about Gibraltar’s bilingual Yanito language.

Seoane and Suarez discussed ideas to develop Gibraltarian literature and publish linguistic biographies.

“It is now clear to all that the Government is committed to preserving our multilingual culture,” Cortes said.

“Understanding our language and culture is key to achieving this.”

Seoane helped Suarez write The International Corpus of English (ICE) for Gibraltar.

In it, they examined the version of English that developed on the Rock over three centuries of British sovereignty.

“The modern day population of Gibraltar can be described as a very homogeneous ethnic group, relatively competent in both English and Spanish, but who also speak Yanito,” the ICE report reads.

“This is the local vernacular language which identifies Gibraltarians and which has emerged as a result of code-switching mainly from Spanish and English.

It adds that ‘minor influences from Italian, Hebrew, and Arabic’ give the language its own special flavour.

Cortes has declared himself in favour of supporting Gibraltar’s Yanito language.

“I am very pleased to support all academic research into our language, and the Book Council will continue to work hard to help promote Gibraltarian writing,” Cortes said.


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