University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > RCEAL Tuesday Colloquia > Language contact and shift: a comparison of the peninsular societies of Hong Kong and Gibraltar.

Language contact and shift: a comparison of the peninsular societies of Hong Kong and Gibraltar.

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Hong Kong and Gibraltar are territories with much in common sociolinguistically, not least because both are sites where the English language, transplanted by British colonialism, has interacted with native languages – notably (but not exclusively) Cantonese in Hong Kong and Spanish in Gibraltar. The ratio of language mix (or the ratio of codeswitching) is however distinct for each territory, even if English is exerting a greater pull on the speech habits of both Hong Kongers and Gibraltarians. This talk will address what sociohistorical factors have led to these differentiated mixtures, and how current trends in language choice can be explained through anthropological factors. It is hoped that the work on which this talk is based will refine the existing methodologies used to gauge language shift, and act as a first step towards a holistic typology of speech communities.

This talk is part of the RCEAL Tuesday Colloquia series.

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