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Language and Communication Research Seminars 2018-19

We are very excited to confirm the fantastic line-up of presenters for our 2018-19 Language and Communication Research Seminars at our Hendon Campus. Hope to see you all there!

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  • Emerging research in English: PhD student presentations. Friday, 23rd November 2018, 14.30 – 16.00, Room V105 (Vine building).

 

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Excavating naming practices in language research  methodologies: The case of Romani languages in Europe

The Language and Communication research cluster is delighted to announce a presentation by our colleague and Associate Professor in Education, Dr Leena Robertson, on excavating naming practices in language research  methodologies: The case of Romani languages in Europe.

When? Friday 19th October 2018, 14.30 – 15.30

Where? Room V105, Vine building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

This presentation draws on a European Union (EU) funded research study (more details can be found here https://research.ncl.ac.uk/romtels/) in which the Roma research participants identified their language as ‘our gypsy language’. The process of finding names for their Romani varieties more specifically – and more ‘accurately’ and ‘formally’ – opened up new and unexpected situations. The research team’s firm and clearly acknowledged starting point had included a recognition that language names are never politically innocent or neutral, and the names of languages and linguistic varieties have always been dependent on who is doing the naming, and for what purpose, and whose purpose, and whether the naming is done by an insider or an outsider, from an emic (insider) or an etic (outsider)  perspective (Headland et al, 1991).

It is language names and naming practices that are excavated here in an on-going quest for developing more socially just methodologies. In the case of Roma people and with reference to their various Romani language names, they are a source of information of the Roma past and the various Roma groups’ routes of migration (Matras, 2005), and of social exclusion and marginalisation (Danaher, 2013; Fleck and Rughinis, 2008). Importantly, they also reveal Roma people’s agency and attempts to resist marginalisation (Danaher, 2013). One of the key findings concerned the participants’ investigation of both emic and etic naming practices of their own language – switching from emic to etic – which promoted emancipation.

Bio

LeenaRobertson

Leena Robertson is Associate Professor in the department of Education at Middlesex University, London. Leena’s work, research and publications are in the field of multilingualism, literacies, culture and learning. She has extensive experience of teaching multilingual children in schools, and working with families and community teachers. For many years she led teacher education programmes and mentored teachers and student teachers in London schools. Leena has led a network of early years teachers in Finland and Estonia in developing child-initiated pedagogies. Her latest work concerns translanguaging, Roma children and their families, and she remains committed in developing pedagogies and practices that foster social justice. Originally from Finland, Leena enjoys swimming in open seas, and in all seasons, and spending time with her family and friends.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

Rhetoric of Death and Dying

The Language and Communication research cluster is delighted to announce a presentation by our colleague and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion Dr Johan Siebers on the Rhetoric of Death and Dying.

When? Friday 7th December 2018, 14.30 – 15.30

Where? Room V105, Vine building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

The experience and awareness of death and dying is a constitutive factor of human existence. For some philosophies, world views and religions death is the ultimate horizon against which finite existence acquires meaning and becomes liveable. For others, the experience of death is an experience of the breakdown of all meaning and death is “the scandal of philosophy”. For still others, death and life are two sides of the same coin, mutually enabling each other even to the point where death becomes the gateway to life or another life and living and dying merge, while there are also views which hold that while we are here death is not, and when death is here, we are not, so there is nothing problematic about the end of life called death, except perhaps that we haven’t found a way to prolong life indefinitely. Not really living or not living well is far worse than death or dying. We know our deepest grief, loss and fear in the face of death but also hope, equanimity and even gratitude. Mortality is as central to human existence as the fact that we have language. The human being is the animal rationale who vivifies her life by the conscious expression of it, no less than the one who is moribund (humus, soil), because she knows she is.

So however we choose or come to live in the face of mortality, our own and that of others, it is clear that death has a profound connection to meaning. In this paper I will not so much investigate different views, analyses, understandings or ways of talking about death, but rather look at how speech shapes itself in the face of death. The confrontation with death urges us to speak as speaking seems the only way of meeting something that completely overpowers us, and yet death is also an ultimate experience that leaves us often literally speechless so that silence seems the only response commensurate with the event; every word is too much and not enough at the same time. Yet a death that finds no words at all is not human and more traumatic than death itself is anyway. What happens to language at this limit-point of human existence, where words and silence light up as dependent on each other in a way we do not understand? Rhetoric, as a way of reflecting about language and meaning and as a practical engagement with speaking, since its beginning recognized that speech involves the head, the heart and the body – the whole human being. It also has a long history of speaking to death; the genre of the eulogy is a standard form in oratory. Rhetoric as it is pursued today no longer is the mere art of persuasion, but the attempt to become conscious, in theory and practice, of what it means to be a speaking being. I will align myself with this view of rhetoric and explore what it can contribute to the question how to live with the disquieting and urgent drive of speaking in the face of death. This, in the end, is a question about wisdom.

BIONOTE

siebers_johan

Johan Siebers is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Middlesex University. He is also an Associate Fellow at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where he leads the Ernst Bloch Centre for German Thought. He has published widely on 19th and 20th century German philosophy, metaphysics, philosophy of communication, rhetoric and futurity. He is founding editor of Empedocles: European Journal for Philosophy of Communication. Before coming to Middlesex he designed and led the first MA in Rhetoric in the UK, at the University of Central Lancashire.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

A Splotch of Red: Keir Hardie in West Ham

THE LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION RESEARCH CLUSTER IS DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE THE PRESENTATION BY PLAYWRIGHT AND MIDDLESEX LECTURER IN MEDIA NARRATIVE JAMES KENWORTH ON HIS PLAY ‘A Splotch of Red: Keir Hardie in West Ham’.

When? Friday 15 March 2019, 14.30 – 15.30

Where? Room V105, Vine building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

In this presentation/talk, I will focus on the ongoing importance of the concept of site-specific environments to my writing practice and thinking about theatre making; the fusing together of my principal interests in creating theatre-orientated work, namely use of public, unconventional performance spaces and non-naturalistic /creative language in a A Splotch of Red: Keir Hardie in West Ham, the third installment in my Newham Trilogy; and a brief consideration of the public, inclusive and social nature of community-orientated, history-based theatre.

BIOGRAPHY

imageJames Kenworth is a Playwright and a Lecturer in Media Narrative at Middlesex University. His writing include ‘verse-prose’ plays Johnny Song, Gob; black comedy Polar Bears; issue-led plays Everybody’s World(Elder Abuse)Dementia’s Journey (Dementia); plays for young people/schools The Last Story in the World; and a Newham-based trilogy of site-specific plays, When Chaplin Met Gandhi, Revolution Farm and A Splotch of Red: Keir Hardie in West Ham.

His play, Dementia’s Journey, won the 2015 University of Stirling International Dementia Award in the category: Dementia & the Arts. When Chaplin Met Gandhi and Revolution Farm is published by TSL Publications. A Splotch of Red has recently been published in a collection of political plays by Workable Press, a new publishing imprint dedicated to trade unions and organised workers.

He is currently working on his new play Alice in Canning Town, a contemporary, urban adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, reconfigured for the East End and performed site-specific in Arc in the Park, an inclusive adventure playground in Canning Town.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

Through two lenses: Re-enregistering Cypriot Greek as ‘slang’ in London’s Greek Cypriot diaspora

The Language and Communication research cluster is delighted to welcome Dr Petros Karatsareas (University of Westminster) for a presentation on Through two lenses: Re-enregistering Cypriot Greek as ‘slang’ in London’s Greek Cypriot diaspora

When? Friday 8th March 2019, 14.30 – 15.30

Where? Room V105, Vine building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

In the context of Cyprus, Standard Modern Greek and Cypriot Greek have traditionally been viewed as two discrete and mutually exclusive linguistic entities that form a binary diglossic opposition à la Ferguson (1959) with Standard Modern Greek being the High code and Cypriot Greek being the Low code (Moschonas, 1996, 2002; Arvaniti 2006/2010). More recent proposals, however, describe a register continuum (Tsiplakou, Papapavlou, Pavlou & Katsoyannou, 2006; Papapavlou & Sophocleous, 2009). At the one end of the continuum, we find an acrolectal register that incorporates a high number of lexical, phonological and grammatical features (thought to be) found in the standard variety of the language as it is spoken in Greece. At the other end, we find a basilectal register that incorporates a high number of features originating in the regional varieties of Greek spoken in Cyprus. One of the two main labels that speakers of Cypriot Greek use to describe this register is xorkátika (cipriaká) ‘villagey (Cypriot)’, associating it with notions of rurality and a general lack of sophistication and manners captured collectively under the related label xorkaθ‘peasantry’.

In this contribution, I draw on data collected as part of a larger ethnographic investigation of language practices among London’s Greek Cypriot diaspora (see Karatsareas, 2018) to argue that, in London and as a result of being transplanted from a rural to an urban context where the majority language is English, Cypriot Greek was re-enregistered (in the sense of Agha, 2003, 2007) on the basis of ideological conceptualisations of English non-standard varieties vis-à-vis Standard English. Evidence in support of this thesis is found in the fact that, in addition to the known label xorkátika (cipriaká), British-born speakers of Cypriot Greek, who are dominant in English, describe their heritage language as a type of Greek ‘slang’ and also as spazména (elliniká) ‘broken (Greek)’, two labels unknown to the Cyprus context. In the use of the former term, we see the recognition of the informality and orality of Cypriot Greek as well as of the ways in which it challenges social and linguistic conventions. The latter term is not applied, as would be expected, to contact-induced phenomena in the speech of English-dominant speakers that would be ungrammatical in the speech of Cypriot Greek monolinguals. Rather, it is applied to basilectal features of Cypriot Greek such as the postalveolar fricative [tʃ] and words that contain it such as tʃe ‘and’ by virtue of their lack from acrolectal registers and Standard Modern Greek. This suggests that, in the diasporic context, the similarities between basilectal registers of Cypriot Greek and non-standard English varieties in terms of informality, orality and difference from the respective standards enhanced the pre-existing perception that Cypriot Greek is an inferior form of language.

 

Bio

petrosDr Petros Karatsareas is a Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Westminster. He holds a Ptychion in Greek Philology from the University of Athens, and an M.Phil. in Linguistics and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge. He specialises in multilingualism focusing on the languages of the UK’s minority ethnic communities. He explores the factors that play a role in intergenerational transmission and maintenance, looking specifically at ideologies of monolingualism, attitudes towards multilingualism, and attitudes towards non-prestigious linguistic varieties. He is also interested in community language teaching and learning looking at how community languages are taught in complementary schools and the role these schools play in language maintenance and ideology.

He addresses these issues based on his research on London’s Greek Cypriot diaspora. He is also actively involved in a range of public engagement activities raising awareness about the value of non-standard linguistic varieties and about the contribution of the Greek Cypriot community to London’s multicultural and multilingual character. His research has received the financial support of the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (through the Open World Research Initiative).

 

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

Reading on Screen: challenging myths and misperceptions of reading in the digital age

The Language and Communication research cluster is delighted to welcome Professor Bronwen Thomas (Bournemouth University) for a presentation on Reading on Screen: challenging myths and misperceptions of reading in the digital age.

When? Friday 8th February 2019, 14.30 – 15.30

Where? Room V105, Vine building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

Debates about digital reading are beset by stereotypes such as those of the ‘digital native’, and crude binaries about print vs screen cultures.  Two projects supported by the AHRC – Researching Readers Online (2012) and The Digital Reading Network (2013-14) – set out to provide more nuanced insights into the practices of digital readers and to explore new approaches to the study of readers based on the rich data about reading available to us thanks to the digital revolution.  A third project, Reading on Screen (2017-18), employed innovative participatory methods to create over 30 digital stories reflecting the complex and often contradictory experiences of contemporary readers from a variety of social backgrounds and ages.

In this paper, I will reflect on the efficacy of the digital storytelling method for eliciting reader responses of a radically different kind to those we are accustomed to from academic studies reliant on interviews, questionnaires or textual analysis.  I will also outline the main outcomes and impact of the project, both planned and unplanned, particularly focusing on group dynamics, benefits reported by participants, and follow on activities and creative projects initiated by them.

Bronwen Thomas

BIO

Bronwen Thomas is Professor of English and New Media at Bournemouth University and Director of the Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community. She has led three AHRC funded projects on digital reading, and has published widely on new media narratives, fanfiction and online communities. Bronwen is currently writing a book on Literature and Social Media.

 

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

 

 

Wakeful: listening to the past through archives and experimentation

The Language and Communication research cluster is delighted to announce a presentation by our colleague Dr Anne Robinson on Wakeful: listening to the past through archives and experimentation.

When? Friday 25th January 2019, 14.30 – 15.30

Where? Room V105, Vine building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

‘If I Sleep, I May be Caught’ was the motto of HMS Wakeful a WW1 destroyer on which the artist’s father was ship’s cook: built on ‘Red’ Clydeside in 1917 and sent off to intervene in the Baltic straight after the Armistice. Wakeful is a new, experimental film work with percussive sound, with research drawing both on fragmented childhood memory and archive sources from an ‘undeclared war’. Robinson works experimentally with film technologies to record the passing of time: performers re-inhabit the past, the landscapes of war give up their dead and soundscapes of the past seep into the present.

www.wakefulproject.org

wakeful

BIO:

Anne Robinson is an artist who lives and works in east London. As well as working in film, she collaborates on curating and multidisciplinary work. She holds a PhD in Painting, Film and Temporality and currently teaches at Middlesex University.

 

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.