Even in the final weeks of their graduate studies, Modern Languages & Cultures graduate students are mobile, and Elizabeth Burgess has just returned from a visit to Alicante, Spain. Elizabeth is due to submit her thesis for examination this summer, having completed her BA (2011) and MA (2012) at the University of Liverpool.
Elizabeth’s thesis assesses local language policy in Alicante, a province in the Valencian Community in south-east Spain and draws upon questionnaire data collected in the towns of Sant Vicent del Raspeig and La Vila Joiosa during the second year of Elizabeth’s doctoral studies. Officially, Castilian (Spanish) and Valencian (a regional variety of Catalan) share equal status in the Valencian Community. Elizabeth’s research suggests that official statements about language are not necessarily reflected in the lived language policy of Alicante. Instead, local language policy comprises a wide range of intersecting language management, practices, and beliefs, which continue to evolve to reflect the linguistic experiences and backgrounds of local people.
Elizabeth returned to Alicante earlier this month, in part to coincide with the twenty-first Sociolinguistics Symposium which took place at the University of Murcia, one hour away from Alicante. Elizabeth was joined at the conference by Dr Stefania Tufi, her primary supervisor, as well as Dr Robert Blackwood and Will Amos, from the department’s Sociolinguistics Research Group. Elizabeth took the opportunity to meet up with some of those whom she met during her initial round of fieldwork and to practise her Valencian with them.