Multilingualism among Roma in Kosovo

by YPU Admin on November 11, 2016. Tags: Kosovo, Multilingualism, PhD, Roma, Social Anthropology, and UoM

Introduction

My name is Amelia Abercrombie and I am currently in the final year of my PhD in Social Anthropology. My research is about multilingualism among Roma in Kosovo. I aim to understand the way they speak four languages (Albanian, Serbian, Turkish and Romani), and how this is influenced by their ideas about these different languages.

How I got here

I studied Serbian & Croatian studies at UCL for BA. This is a language degree, which also included modules in literature, history and other areas, and as part of the course I studied in Belgrade for one year. This sparked my interest not just in learning languages and cultures, but also in travelling to places to learn first-hand how people live. I went on to study East European studies with Romanian language for Masters, and attended a summer school in Transylvania. This course focused on area studies research and methods.  After that I spent some time working as a support worker for people with severe learning disabilities before coming to Manchester to start my PhD in Manchester in 2012. I decided to research ideas about language among Roma in Kosovo as this group speak several languages from childhood, and I was already familiar with some of the languages from my previous studies.

In Depth

My research is an ethnography, which means that I spent an extended period (18 months) living with the people I am studying. My method involved living and working with these people, and also learning to speak Romani language. As a result my work focuses on a wide variety of issues ranging from the language used in drama, to language standardisation in schools and media. I also look at other issues which affect Roma in Kosovo, such as poverty, ethnicity and multiculturalism.


Going Further

Farrah Jarral has made a series of short radio programmes about anthropology. They provide a good background to the discipline with interesting examples. www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06zjhfx

The RAI (Royal Anthropological Society) has website with Lots of details about the discipline of anthropology, and various academic resources. https://www.therai.org.uk/

The RAI also have a film on YouTube which introduces anthropology, and has been made by lecturers from Manchester, as well as other universities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF51Ma1Voo4

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