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CELCE Research Talk: Convivencia across linguistic and disciplinary borders: the case of Al-Andalus and the contemporary Maghreb

Language and Nature
research talks
Thursday 12 October 2023, 12-1pm
Hybrid: Clothworkers' Building South, seminar room 3.01 and Teams

Centre of Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems (CELCE) Research talk

To join on Teams, please email Prof Janet Watson.

Title: Convivencia across linguistic and disciplinary borders: the case of Al-Andalus and the contemporary Maghreb

Speakers: Dr Sarali Gintsburg, University of Navarra & Prof Mike Baynham, University of Leeds

Abstract: We start our presentation by reviewing the implications of Heath’s recent argument concerning the romance origin of the analytic genitive exponent de in Moroccan darija, which raises the issues we have explored in recent work concerning Moroccan darija as a special case of linguistic permeability due to its politico-geographic location on the frontier and given its thousand year history of close contact with romance. If de is really of romance origin it suggests that a romance element is embedded in the core grammar of Moroccan darija.

We draw on the current construct of translanguaging (Baynham and Lee 2018) and the notion of convivencia as elaborated by Bossong in his study of linguistic conviviality and coexistence in mediaeval Andalusian poetry (Bossong 2010). We then go on to illustrate this, using two time slices: i) evidence of the productive convivencia/coexistence of romance and dialectal Arabic in the kharjas of 11th century al-Andalus as discussed by Bossong and others and ii) in the modern Maghreb music scene through analysis of a song by the Algerian singer Talyani, using translanguaging and Bossong’s notion of convivencia in our analysis.

We then conclude by arguing as Heath does that it is necessary for cross disciplinary work between researchers in Arabic and its Romance contact languages, in order to fully address the sociolinguistics of Moroccan darija. We understand this as a form of disciplinary translanguaging to be undertaken in order to establish the dynamics of the convivencia/coexistence of Arabic and Romance elements in this type of data.