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Multilingualism among Roma in Kosovo

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


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.

The RAI (Royal Anthropological Society) has website with Lots of details about the discipline of anthropology, and various academic resources.

The RAI also have a film on YouTube which introduces anthropology, and has been made by lecturers from Manchester, as well as other universities.