GFAMS commissioned in Cambridge study
Cambridge professors were recently inducted on Llanito by members of Gibraltarians for a Multilingual Society (GFAMS) for a study.
Dale Buttigieg and Manuel Enriles from GFAMS were recently commissioned by a team of University of Cambridge linguists consisting of Professors Laura Wright, Ioanna Sitaridou, Linda Fisher and Brechtje Post to induct them into the linguistic properties of Llanito.
They are currently laying the groundwork for a major academic project on our local vernacular, GFAMS said.
The Gibraltarian linguists were hosted by Queens’ College where they conducted a series of seminars aimed at sharing their theories with the Cambridge scholars.
“Over the past thirty-five years, Dale and Manuel have, at different stages, been involved in analysing the various linguistic aspects of Llanito including its sound system, word formation, vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar,” a spokesman for GFAMS said.
Prof Wright said that by the end of two days of intensive sessions given by the GFAMS delegation, the linguists had learnt that Llanito has some unique grammatical features, potentially indicating considerable time-depth, although it is now endangered and many Gibraltarians nowadays codeswitch it extensively with English.
“GFAMS maintains that this exclusively Gibraltarian language has now reached a point in its evolution where it can be considered to be independent and separate from its constituent languages, despite still sharing many features with them,” the group said.
“This now needs to be substantiated by extensive academic research.”
“The initial work by the local specialists will prove invaluable to the Cambridge researchers who intend to go on to define and describe Llanito in a rigorous and scientific manner, in order to paint a clear and defined picture of it.”
“Having become a corporate member of GFAMS earlier in the year, the University of Cambridge shows commitment to the association’s aims to reverse the current shift towards monolingualism among the younger generations, and to preserve the multilingual identity which has always characterised Gibraltarian society.”
“Key to maintaining our multilingualism is ensuring the survival of Llanito as the everyday language among the younger generations, as it has always been for the older ones.”
“The Cambridge study would play a crucial role in establishing Llanito as a fully recognised language in its own right.”
“GFAMS’ visit marks the first step in a close collaboration between the Gibraltar and Cambridge linguists.”