Dr Jonathan Kasstan, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (Queen Mary University of London)

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Jonathan R Kasstan
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Current projects

Universals of Grammatical Change in Language Obsolescence

This Leverhulme Trust funded project (2017-2020) focuses on grammatical change in language obsolescence. Previous research on Francoprovençal shows unexpected directions of change that cannot be explained by existing theory, which relies on common dichotomous accounts of contact induced change and internal change. The project will be innovative in that it marshals data obtained from native speakers and learners of Francoprovençal on two continents to dissociate universals of language obsolescence from structural alignment with the superordinate languages with which Francoprovençal is in contact. The project will contribute towards a theory of language death and, through engagement with threatened communities, will deliver meaningful social impact..

Project coordinator
Jonathan Kasstan (Queen Mary University of London)

Outputs
For a list of conference papers and articles resulting from the project, see the project website.


Linguistics in Modern Foreign Languages Project

This project will assess the potential for the inclusion of linguistic topics in MFL A-levels. Current A-level syllabi make a sharp distinction between language and content, the latter referring to literature, film, history and culture. This differs from many university courses in which linguistic content is fundamental. Our project will engage students with linguistics and deepen their interests in language, including its historical, cultural and social reflexes. We are interested not only in how stimulating and relevant the pupils find these topics, but also in what effect this exposure has on their language attitudes and their confidence levels with speaking/writing another language.

The project is concerned principally with taking drastic action to address a crisis in MFL teaching and learning. The ultimate aim of this project is to drive stronger results in MFL A-Levels, and to enthuse and better prepare candidates for entry into MFL at university by bringing about a change in A-Level syllabi. We envisage that this will also encourage more students to take MFL degrees at university. Data on higher-education aspirations and eventualities will also be collected as part of the project. If this pilot is successful, we will be seeking further funding to extend the project to a broader national level, and encourage the participation of more schools, particularly those in the state sector.

Project coordinators
Jonathan Kasstan (Queen Mary University of London)
Adam Ledgeway (University of Cambridge)
Norma Schiffano (University of Cambridge)
Michelle Sheehan; (Anglia Ruskin University)

Outputs
For a list of conference papers and articles resulting from the project, see the project website.


Swiss Islands in North America (SINA)

Swiss Islands in North America (SINA) was established as a research network on 20 June 2016 with the intention of pooling research expertise, resources, and interests to investigate Swiss languages and Swiss identity in North America. The network is made up of a team of international collaborators from the Université of Lausanne (CH), Ludwig-Maximilian Universität München (D), Universität Salzburg (A), Queen Mary University of London (UK), and the University of Wisconsin in Madison (US).

Using a range of sociolinguistic methods (dialectology, variationist sociolinguistics, historical sociolinguistics, multimodal platforms), the SINA research network is principally interested in the mechanisms associated with language maintenance and shift in the Swiss diasporas and the role that identity preservation plays in these processes.

Project coordinators
Anita Auer (Université de Lausanne)
Aris Xanthos (Université de Lausanne)
Jonathan Kasstan (Queen Mary University of London)
Guido Seiler (Ludwig-Maximillian Universität München)
Stephan Eslpaß (Universität Salzburg)

Outputs
For a list of conference papers and articles resulting from the project, see the project website.
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