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Current activities

1. Bringing Together Worlds Apart: Multilingualism in London and Agnack

Thursday 23 March 2017 , 19:00 – 21:30, refreshments will be served.

Please see here for full details and to register.

This free Multilingual Capital event will involve a screening of the critically acclaimed film: Kanraxël.

Agnack is a village in Southern Senegal where both rivers and people converge in the most stunning of ways – a place where it is considered perfectly normal to speak a minimum of six languages. For the first time in history the people of Agnack – the Baïnounk people – allowed cameras to film as they prepare for an unforgettable event and capture the mystery surrounding their rituals. The Baïnounk culture is more threatened now than at any point in its long history due to abrupt changes brought by colonisation, conflict, globalisation and migration.

Anna Sowa, producer of Kanraxël for Chouette Films, and Professor Friederike Lüpke, who leads the research team behind Kanraxël, will talk about the making of the film, and research findings which have arisen alongside the film.

The event will be introduced by a short talk by Dr Esther de Leeuw, who leads Multilingual Capital with Professor Devyani Sharma, and multilingual landscapes of East London will be presented in relation to Agnack.

2. Student project on the multilingual linguistic landscape of London boroughs

London mapper Basemap

The third year students of the undergraduate module Bilingualism LIN6018 have been working on a project which investigates the multilingual linguistic landscape of London boroughs. The students worked in groups to compare and contrast multilingualism in different London boroughs, which are displayed in this map, made by London Mapper. The students used data from the census, which can be found summarized below, to illustrate the top ten languages in their chosen boroughs; took pictures of road signs in the boroughs, shop names, advertisements, and other signage. The purpose of this project was to examine, compare, and illustrate multilingualism across London.


3. Student podcast project on different multilingual backgrounds at Queen Mary University of London

In the student portraits below, a wide array of different forms of individual bilingualism, multilingualism, and monolingualism, are portrayed. In addition to English, which as students of English linguistics all students speak, many other languages are spoken by the students. These podcasts display language diversity at an individual level, as well as the extent of societal multilingualism which exists at Queen Mary University of London, and East London more generally. Listen to the podcasts to find out more.
Nusrat (left) and Hannah (right). IMAG3156 Muhammad, Joanne, Kerrilyn and Razzaq (from left to right).
Nusrat (left) speaks Bengali and Hannah (right) is learning Nepali. Genelle (far left) grew up in a Jamaican Patois environment. Christina (far right) is from Switzerland and speaks Swiss German. Loes (left) is originally from the Netherlands and speaks Dutch, whilst Jack (right) would like to learn Latvian. Muhammad (far left) and Razzaq (far right) grew up with Bengali, and are learning Arabic. Joanne (left) and Kerrilyn (right) both consider themselves to be monolingual English speakers but learned some French in school.
 Nusrat (left) and Hannah (right). Genelle (far left) and Christina (far right).  Joanne (left) and Kerrilyn (right).
Aamina and Lizzie.  Loes (left) and Jack (right). Razzaq (far right) and Muhammad (far left).
IMAG3159 IMAG3157
Shahjahan (left) speaks Bengali and he and Ridwanul (far left) are learning Arabic, mainly for religious reasons. Lucy (far right) learned some Spanish from her Spanish grandparents and Olivia (left) considers herself to be monolingual, but thinks it would be advantageous to learn Chinese.  Paloma (middle) is from Spain and speaks Spanish, Valencian and French. Rachel (left) speaks Chinese and Bryony (right) understands Japanese, German and French.
 Lucy (far right) and Olivia (right).  Rachel (left) and Paloma (middle).
 Shahjahan (left) and Ridwanul (far left).  Bryony (right) and Sophie.
IMAG3160 IMAG3161
Harisah (middle) speaks Urdu and Punjabi, while Olivia (right) considers herself to be monolingual, and Lucy (left) thinks there should be more pressure to learn other languages at school in England.  Charlotte (left) is from France and speaks French, whilst Georgina (right) wishes she had learned another language while growing up, and Jon (middle) learned French and Spanish at school.
Olivia (right) and Annie.  Charlotte (left) and Georgina (right).
Lucy (left) and Harisah (middle).  Jon (middle) and Fiona.
For the above project, the third year students of the module Bilingualism LIN6018 worked with partners and interviewed each other, drawing from a list of questions. These recorded interviews were given to another group (also two partners), and the new group shortened the recordings to make podcasts with the most relevant information (between 2 and 3 minutes). The new group then presented the shortened podcasts, created using Audacity software, to the class, and related the personal information in the podcasts to what we know about bilingualism and multilingualism more generally.