The team from the University of Valladolid Language Acquisition Lab (UVALAL), which is studying English-Spanish bilingualism, have had a productive and interesting week conducting research in Gibraltar.
The bilingual language study took place at the John Mackintosh Hall where the UVALAL team members Raquel Fernández Fuertes (PI), Esther Álvarez de la Fuente, Sonja Mujcinovic, Tamara Gómez Carrero and Eduardo Gómez Garzarán have been recording the language responses of around 30 participants from a wide age range. The data collected will now be analysed and studied to explore the type of language alternation that Gibraltarians use between English and Spanish (i.e., code-switching). This is the second research visit by the team who are keen to explore the nuances of the bilingual language used by Gibraltarians, in particular the code-switching which is prevalent in bilingual speakers. The UVALAL makes use of linguistic theory, as well as spontaneous and experimental data, to account for different linguistic phenomena that are related to language contact situations, such as the one in Gibraltar.
On this occasion a public lecture was delivered by Raquel Fernández Fuertes on ‘Bilingualism from the outside and from the inside’, which generated interest, with representatives also featuring on GBC’s City Pulse programme where they discussed their work further. The UVALAL team is led by Raquel Fernández Fuertes who says that bilingualism is not a one-person effort, but rather a complex and fascinating process that requires collaboration from individuals, researchers, educators, politicians, and society, as we all share the same ultimate interests and goals when it comes to bilingualism.
Minister for Culture, John Cortes, said: “As we work towards preserving our multi-lingual community, I am very pleased that Gibraltar has attracted the interest of these international researchers. A greater understanding of how our languages work together will help cement our uniqueness and encourage us to continue to realise the many benefits of multi-lingualism”.
The visit was supported by Gibraltar Cultural Services on behalf of the Ministry for Culture and by the University of Gibraltar.