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The University of Hong Kong
Plagues, barricades and the shadow of Spain: An historical exploration of language choice and identity in Gibraltar

This talk will explore language use from a historical perspective in one of the few remaining British colonies: the Rock of Gibraltar. Located on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, Gibraltar has absorbed linguistic and cultural influences not just from the United Kingdom, or neighbouring Spain, but from a variety of places and peoples across the Mediterranean. We will see how British Gibraltar began its existence in the early 18th century as a melting pot of languages and peoples, and how it developed into a territory whose citizens are bilingual in Spanish and English. Particular attention will be paid to the territory’s fractious relationship with Spain, as well as the impact of specific historical events (plague, sieges, war) on local processes of identity formation and language choice.


Daniel Weston read English Language and Literature at BA level at the University of Oxford, and obtained his MPhil and PhD in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge. Prior to taking up a position at HKU, he was employed at Birkbeck University of London, Portsmouth University, and, latterly, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). His research interests include bilingual pragmatics (code-switching), World Englishes (specifically English dialect development), and the discourse analysis of gatekeeping encounters. He has published in a variety of journals on these subject areas. He is currently collaborating with the University of Cambridge on a project examining the communicative effectiveness of the undergraduate admissions interview. To this end, he is also an affiliate and visiting scholar at the Cambridge Language Sciences Interdisciplinary Research Centre.

Zoom Details

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/98819720687?pwd=Mm03ZDJqRW8xdzlrRzA1bEhwL0ZsZz09 

Meeting ID: 988 1972 0687
Password: 520528

Live broadcast will be available in Room CRT-7.45, 7/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU.