Gibraltarians and their Language: twenty-one linguistic biographies


Following quickly on the Gibraltar National Book Council’s first working meeting and announcement of activities, comes the news that Gibraltarian culture is set to receive a major boost, with the publication of Gibraltarians and their Language: twenty-one linguistic biographies, a book collaboration between academics from both the University of Vigo and the University of the Balearic Islands, local author and book council member M. G. Sanchez, and a number of prominent Gibraltarian authors, journalists and educators.

The announcement follows the first working meeting of the Gibraltar National Book Council which was set up earlier this month.

The new book will explore Gibraltarian attitudes to language in the shape of twenty-one ‘linguistic biographies’. Each biography will contain a ‘narrative’ of the featured person’s relationship to language (for instance, what they spoke at home as children, how they communicated with their friends at school, what they think of English/ Spanish/ Llanito, how their ideas of language have developed over the years, and other related topics).

Explains M. G. Sanchez: “We have had a number of studies on Llanito and Gibraltarian English over the years, but so far no one has published a book where Gibraltarians themselves tell their own linguistic story. This exciting new project will plug this deficit and become a major work of reference for academics and students interested in the languages spoken in the streets of Gibraltar.”

Minister for Culture John Cortes said, “This is an exciting, major development in the study of our language, and so relevant to who we are. It shows the importance of promoting the understanding of our language, one of the main aims of the Gibraltar Book Council.”

A contract for Gibraltarians and their Language has already been signed with the publishers, Edwin Mellen Press, and the four editors (Professor Elena Seoane of the University of Vigo, Professor Cristina Suárez Gómez of the University of the Balearic Islands, Dr Lucía Loureiro-Porto of the University of the Balearic Islands, and local writer M. G. Sanchez) expect to complete the book by the end of this year.