Episode 6: Multilingualism is not a Curse part 2

‘For me, linguistic diversity is absolutely amazing, and it’s incredibly persistent. Diversity persists, despite the many attempts for us to all just speak one language.’ – Alison Phipps

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Why is it that despite all of the evidence that using multiple languages is good for you, multilingualism is still sometimes treated with suspicion? In this episode, I examine the concept of verbal hygiene, and how the policing of linguistic borders affects our lives.

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Get in touch @accentricitypod on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you would like to chat some more!

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Thanks to Dawn Cody, Ross Christie, Alex Ballantyne, Gemma Doran and Eilidh Rankin for the most recent donations to the podcast! All money raised will go towards making a second series.

If you’d like to support Accentricity financially, click here or here. If you have enthusiasm but not cold hard cash, tell a pal about it, or gies a wee rating and review. These things are just as helpful!

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The contributors:

* Agnieszka Checka is a writer. She has a zine about the experience of moving to Scotland, which is out now and available on Etsy. It’s called ‘One Of The Good Ones’. Her essay ‘When The Curtain Falls’ is going to be featured in the anthology The Bi-ble volume II: New Testimonials, which will be published by Monstrous Regiment in the summer. It’s about growing up queer in Poland.

* Alison Phipps is Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies at the University of Glasgow, and the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts. She is also co-convenor of GRAMNET, the Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network. Her book ‘Decolonising Multilingualism’ will be published by Multilingual Matters in June 2019. If you would like to read more about her ideas on multilingualism before June, a good place to start is here. She also recently released a book of poetry written with Zimbabwean writer Tawona Sitholé, which you can find here. You can follow her on Twitter here.

* Eva Hanna is a PhD student who studies multilingualism. She is also the parents of two multilingual children. She also has a couple of excellent blog posts about the value of multilingualism which you can read here and here.

* Natalie Findlayson stopped speaking German as a kid, but once she’d left school she ended up studying it at uni, spending some time in Germany and becoming completely fluent. Her parents might have felt at the time like they hadn’t succeeded in raising a bilingual kid but, ultimately, in a roundabout way, they did. She now teaches German and French at the University of Glasgow.

* Harry Josephine Giles is a writer and performer from Orkney and based in Edinburgh. Their poetry collections Tonguit (2015) and The Games (2018) were both shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, and Tonguit for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Harry Josephine was the 2009 BBC Scotland slam champion, founded Inky Fingers Spoken Word, and co-directs the performance platform Anatomy. Their participatory theatre has toured widely, including Forest Fringe (UK), NTI (Latvia), CrisisArt (Italy) and Teszt (Romania). Harry Josephine’s performance What We Owe was picked by the Guardian's best-of-the-Fringe 2013 roundup – in the “But Is It Art?” category.

* Andrew Macdonell lives in Brussels and tells people how to apply for research funding from the EU.

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If you’d like to read more about Deborah Cameron’s work on verbal hygiene, I recommend the book Good To Talk. Another good place to start is her blog, ‘Language, a feminist guide’.

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The song at the end is ‘There Is No Ending’ by Arab Strap, used with permission from Aidan Moffat.

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Thanks to everyone I spoke to while making this series, including the many people I spoke to whose interviews haven’t yet appeared: Andreas Wolff, Peter McCune, Oisín Kealy, Jamie Liddell, Stacey Keen, Sean Sweeney, Colin Reilly, Karen Corrigan, Bruce Eunson, Claire Needler, Derrick McClure, E Jamieson, Karen Lowing, Laura Green, Michael Hance, Pavel Iosad, Robert McColl Miller, Ben Kinsella, Flora and Morgan Livingstone, the good people of The Bold Collective, and Kamil from Polska Skola. Even if your voices don’t appear, your ideas and influence do – and I hope to include your actual voices at a later date!

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Big big thanks to John McDiarmid for production support. John is a freelance radio producer, documentarian and journalist. You can find his company on Instagram @teltmedia. He recently finished his first feature-length documentary, St Mungo’s Approval

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Big big thanks too to Seb Philp for the music. He doesn’t have a website, but if you’d like to talk to him, send me a message! 

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