11 Sep, 2023 @ 15:12
1 min read

International academics descend on Cambridge University for discussions about Gibraltar’s unique language

CAMBRIDGE University will hold a presentation about Gibraltar’s culture and writing on September 12-13 for international academics.

Minister for Culture, Professor John Cortes, will head the Gibraltar Literature Symposium titled ‘Llanito Culture and Writing’ at the university’s Faculty of English.

The Ministry of Culture said in a statement that it will focus on ‘language use, literary expression, and other expressions of the Gibraltarian identity’.

Authors from Gibraltar will show off their work at the event, that has attracted academics from Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK.

These authors have helped compile the book ‘Gibraltarians and their Language: Twenty-One Linguistic Biographies’, edited by Professor Elena Seoane from the University of Vigo.

They include Giordano Durante, Humbert Hernandez, London-based Gabriel Moreno, Jonathan Pizarro, Mark Sanchez and Madrid-based Jonathan Teuma.

The two-day event will explore the role which language plays in Gibraltarian writing and the culture of the British territory in general.

It will look at how language is connected to emotion, the threats to ‘Llanito’, language choices and transitions as well as what can get lost in translation.

The government of Gibraltar described it as a ‘historic occasion’ with authors who write in Llanito, English or Spanish explaining what made them use that particular language.

Only this year the Minister Cortes spearheaded the start of the National Book Council that is trying to help local writers publish and market their work.

The Patuka Press Collective is also planing a new book called ‘Borders and Boundaries’, describing the linguistic and class divisions that mark Gibraltar literature.

Finally, a group called the Gibraltarians for a Multilingual Society has also started up to help preserve Llanito, Spanish and English in Gibraltar’s society.

“This is a really exciting event, and shows the academic interest there is in Gibraltarian Culture, which in turn reflects how our Literature is developing and consolidating,” Cortes said in a statement.

“I am most grateful to Cambridge University for hosting this very significant event, which will be the start of a relationship that will greatly impact on the promotion of Gibraltar, its Culture, languages and Identity.”

Llanito is the language used by Gibraltarians that mainly combines English and Spanish with elements of Italian and Maltese.

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