Lecturer in Spanish and Translation Studies at the University of Surrey.
Dr Lucy Bell is a lecturer in Spanish and Translation Studies at the University of Surrey. She has published widely in literary studies, critical theory and Latin American Studies. Her first book was entitled The Latin American Short Story at its Limits: Fragmentation, Hybridity and Intermediality. She is currently leading an AHRC-funded project entitled Precarious Publishing in Latin America: Relations, Meaning and Community in Movement (July 2017 – September 2019), with anthropologist Alex Flynn (Durham University). This collaborative, transnational and multi-disciplinary project takes a fresh look at editoriales cartoneras (waste-picking publishers) in Mexico and Brazil from literary, cultural and anthropological perspectives. As well as producing a number of journal articles and a book, her research team will be carrying out an ambitious set of impact activities in the UK, Brazil and Mexico: an exhibition for the general public and a series of book-making workshops for school groups in São Paulo; the creation of cartonera collections with project partners at the British Library, Senate House Library and Cambridge University Library; and the publication of blogs and articles in the UK, Brazil and Mexico.
Perhaps surprisingly, though, at the heart of a self-reflexive play that explores altered states of consciousness and sets out to 'challenge the materialist view' lies something very tangible, material and immediate: the corporeal, present experience.
Debates surrounding bullfighting are inextricably linked with the territorial and political reality of a nation-state comprised of seventeen autonomous regions, and the personal and ideological idiosyncrasies of 8,000 mayors.
Eighty percent of the world's population speak just 83 of our 7000 languages. With over fifty percent of these projected to be lost by the end of the century, indigenous communities and linguists are working together to preserve some of the world's most endangered communication systems and unravel some of their complexities while there is still time.
The case of inflectional classes in Oto-Manguean languages, however, is just one small example of the vital role indigenous languages play in informing our understanding of language. Not all indigenous languages enjoy the same status as those of Mexico, yet each one is as valuable as the next.
Fighting against growing levels of precarity, unemployment, poverty and homelessness - in Spain and, contrary to what our government claims, in the UK - also requires us to reclaim what should belong to the state and its citizens, to us.
So I would say that Riotta's article attracted a large amount of attention not only because he brought the hot topic of relationships and romance into the less media-friendly (but nonetheless extremely important) topic of language-acquisition, but also because - very simply - there are a lot of bilinguals out there. And following on from Riotta's logic, a lot of good lovers.
We are constantly being told Britons are 'bad' at languages... Brits do not have some kind of freak genetic indisposition that hinders them from learning foreign languages. The drop in uptake of languages is not the result of a lack of ability, but of a complex mix of factors.
31/07/2014 16:10 BST
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