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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

Public Lecture: Dr Marcela Cazzoli 'When the vulnerable language acquires prestige abroad: Immigrant Welsh in Argentina'

17th June 2019, 19:30, SCR, Hild Bede College, Durham University

Dr Marcela Cazzoli, Hispanic Studies, Durham University will give this public talk, throwing light into how geographical distance, together with Argentina’seconomic and political difficulties, have created a situation where, regardless of heritage, Welsh has acquired a prestige rarely associated with other immigrant languages, and where knowing the language is desirable because it offers an imaginary escape to Europe in the face of difficulties at home.

Welsh is a vulnerable language in the UK and an immigrant language in Patagonia, Argentina, where it is used by approximately 13,000 native speakers and about 25,000 learners. In Wales, the number of learners is increasing and perceptions have become more positive but revitalization has been only partly successful and the language remains fragile. This contrasts with the immigrant situation in Patagonia; while in the UK Welsh is associated with stereotypical assumptions based on socio-economic, historical, religious or political information, Patagonia is too far away geographically and culturally to hold those perceptions.

This presentation will throw light into how geographical distance, together with Argentina’seconomic and political difficulties, have created a situation where, regardless of heritage, Welsh has acquired a prestige rarely associated with other immigrant languages, and where knowing the language is desirable because it offers an imaginary escape to Europe in the face of difficulties at home.

Contact marcela.cazzoli@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.