Public lecture: Migrants and Refugees in Europe

Public Lecture

Dr Scott Soo from Modern Languages at the University of Southampton will be speaking at a public lecture on the theme of ‘Migrants and Refugees in Europe’, taking place on Thursday 8th December 2016 at 5:45pm, Building 54/4011, Highfield Campus. His talk is entitled ‘Refugee Camps and their Legacy: France and the Spanish Civil War Exiles’. Also speaking at this event are Professor David Owen (Department of Politics and International Relations), on ‘What Makes a Refugee Crisis?’ and Dr Hedvig Schmidt (Southampton Law School), whose talk is entitled ‘The Free Movement Rights for Migrants and Refugees under EU Law’.

Refreshments will be provided after the event and there will be the opportunity to speak to the Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group who befriend and support asylum seekers and refugees in the Southampton area. The tickets are free but everyone who would like to come needs to register on Eventbrite.

Here are some further details about this event:

The unfolding refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe has laid bare how European states and publics relate to people in desperate circumstances when they are from a country that is not their own. European states have tried to find ways to cope with the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, either by agreeing on a number they will take on, by closing border and building fences, or by criminalising those fleeing, or just focusing on people smugglers, rather than supporting those whose rights are violated on a massive scale. The public, meanwhile, is either misinformed by biased tabloid press or by organisations suggesting that handouts are the solution. Key questions emerge about how to address the influx of refugees, asylum-seekers and economic migrants in Europe. What are the responsibilities of European governments and societies in relation to the refugee crisis? How can the refugee/migrant crisis be better tackled? What alternative solutions exist? What are most effective legal and policy interventions that can protect the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe? What can history teach us about past refugee/migrant crisis and how European societies dealt with them? These are some of the crucial questions that this public lecture will attempt to tackle.

Italian film showing today: Il ricco, il povero e il maggiordomo / Riches, Poverty and a Faithful Butler

Italian flag

The Italian film, Il ricco, il povero e il maggiordomo / Riches, Poverty and a Faithful Butler (Aldo Baglio, Giovanni Storti, Giacomo Poretti e Morgan Bertacca, 2014) (98 minutes, subtitles in Italian) will be showing in Lecture Theatre B, Avenue Campus, at 6.30pm on Monday 28th November 2016. Review, introduction and discussion by Paola Visconti. This is the last film of the season, so discussion will take place over nibbles and drinks. You can bring some finger food/drinks but it is not a must. All welcome! The trailer for this film can be viewed on YouTube. Read more…

Next TNS seminar of the ‘Moving Stories’ series


The next seminar of the 2016-17 ‘Moving Stories’ Centre for Transational Studies (TNS) seminar series will take place on Wednesday 14th December 2016 from 5:00-6:30pm, and will be presented jointly by Dr Eleanor Jones and Dr Scott Soo from Modern Languages at the University of Southampton. Eleanor’s presentation is entitled “Death stories: encountering the corpse in narratives of Lusophone Africa”, and Scott will be presenting on “(Re)moving stories: closure and commemoration at the Gurs internment camp”.

The TNS ‘moving stories’ series involves stories that move literally across borders and contexts, as well as stories which move us emotionally. As students of societies, histories and cultures we often engage stories in order to understand and analyse our subject. Stories come in different forms: biographies and life narratives; oral histories; personal and collective memories; material-object stories; poems; novels; legends; myths; visual narratives; music; art; news and media stories; non-fictional sources.

All welcome! Watch this space for details of future TNS seminars.

Spanish hip hop artist El Chojín to visit Southampton

El Chojín — one of the biggest names in Spanish hip hop — will be visiting the Music department at Southampton on Thursday 1st December 2016, and speaking about his work from 3-5pm in Room 1077, Building 6 (Nuffield Theatre).

El Chojín is known for both his social critique and for holding the Guinness World Record for the most syllables rapped in one minute. He will be accompanied by Dr Stuart Green, researcher of Spanish hip hop and racism at the University of Leeds. All students and staff welcome!

Modern Languages welcomes potential future students to Avenue Campus

Get Ready for Languages

Around 50 potential future Modern Languages students will be visiting the Avenue Campus tomorrow, Wednesday 16th November 2016, to meet Modern Languages staff and students, and find out more about Modern Languages study at Southampton.

Our visitors may be interested to look at Get Ready for Languages, an online resource which aims to guide you to useful information about life as a Modern Languages student at Southampton. You can read about staff in the Modern Languages department, discover what sorts of things Modern Languages students past and present are getting up to, and explore some of the modules you might decide to do. All this and more!

Why not also follow us here on the Languages at Southampton blog, and on Twitter @ModernLangs, to keep updated on Modern Languages news and events.

We welcome all visitors and hope you enjoy your time here!

Italian film showing today: Tutta colpa di Freud / Blame Freud (Paolo Genovese, 2014)

Italian flag

The Italian film, Tutta colpa di Freud / Blame Freud (Paolo Genovese, 2014) (120 minutes, English subtitles) will be showing in Lecture Theatre B, Avenue Campus, at 6.30pm on Monday 14th November 2016. Review, introduction and discussion by Sofia Simper, second year BA Language Learning student (Spanish and Italian). All welcome! The trailer for this film can be viewed on YouTube. Read more…

Next CLLEAR seminar: “That’s what she said – a sociophonetic investigation of class and gender in southeast England”


The next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 16th November 2016 from 4:30-6:30pm in Lecture Theatre C, Building 65, Avenue Campus. The talk is entitled “That’s what she said – a sociophonetic investigation of class and gender in southeast England” and will be delivered by Dr Sophie Holmes-Elliott from Modern Languages here at the University of Southampton. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
Previous work on /s/ variation in English has suggested that, for a number of varieties, backer, more [ʃ] like variants are associated with men (e.g. Essex sounds like Eshex) while more fronted realisations are associated with women, and, in some varieties, also gay men (e.g., Munson et al 2006). Subsequent work in the UK has also indicated that for some speakers /s/ may also be associated with class (Stuart-Smith, 2007).

We took data from British reality television in order to investigate this further. We selected two shows – Made in Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex – and used the different programmes as a proxy for social class (upper middle class Chelsea versus working class Essex). Our initial analysis showed that while women consistently showed fronter /s/ measures, the magnitude of the difference was much greater in Essex than Chelsea. Furthermore, this difference was driven primarily by the Essex females. But why, to borrow from Eckert (1989), were the Essex girls “putting these phonological resources to better use than the boys”? What does this phonological resource signify to these speakers?

In order to attempt to tackle this question we analysed the variation in its conversational context (Brown & Levinson, 1987; Kiesling, 2009). For instance, do different speech activities elicit systematically different articulations of /s/? In other words, do Essex girls use fronter /s/ articulations when they are gossiping and aligning with their friends, as in (1), compared to when they are confronting and challenging their boyfriends, as in (2)?
(1) It was so funny right, he was like “I love this girl so much” and everyone was like “aw” and I was like “oh my gosh, Mark is being really emotional” (Lydia, TOWIE:32)
(2) Hate you so much James, just fucked up my life so much (Lydia, TOWIE:27)

Our findings show that they do – particular interactional types are associated with fronter /s/ productions. I discuss these findings in light of what they may contribute to our understanding of socially constrained variation and how linguistic variables develop socially symbolic meanings.

The 12 Apps of Christmas

12 Apps

Students and staff with an interest in the uses of mobile technologies for learning and teaching may be interested in registering for the award winning 12-day online project, The 12 Apps of Christmas, which is now back for its third year. This initiative focuses on exploring 12 mobile apps, which can help students to personalise their learning and educators to support them to do so. Participants are introduced to a different app each day, over 12 weekdays (for approximately 12 minutes a day), starting on 1st December 2016. This year, the course is a collaborative effort and educators from Ireland, UK and America have come together to produce 12 case studies, each showcasing a different mobile app with descriptions of how they have integrated it into their own learning, teaching and assessment practices.

Find out more and register on The 12 Apps of Christmas website. You can also tweet any questions using the hashtag #12appsDIT.