Mixing and Unmixing Languages: Romani Multilingualism in Kosovo, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Mixing and Unmixing Languages

Romani Multilingualism in Kosovo, 1st Edition

By Amelia Abercrombie


194 pages

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Hardback: 9780367860578
pub: 2020-07-14
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Mixing and Unmixing Languages uses the politics and practices of language to understand social hierarchies and social change in a post-conflict and post-socialist context.

The book focuses on Roma in Prizren, Kosovo, where the author conducted long-term ethnographic fieldwork, using language learning as a central method. Shifts in language practices among this highly multilingual group have reflected the demise of Yugoslav socialism, the rise of ethno-nationalist politics and conflict, and the post-war reversal of power relations in Kosovo. Roma in Prizren nostalgically narrate a past of cosmopolitanism and employment in contrast to the present. Their position today is complex: while they stress their relative integration, this position is fragile in the face of nationalist politics and imported neoliberal economic policies. Within this context, Roma NGO workers have found an economic niche working on projects to protect multiculturalism and minorities, funded by international aid agencies, centred on Romani language. This book discusses the historical trajectory and current configurations of a Romani organisation in the town, the standardisation of Romani and the hierarchical organisation of linguistic forms and language learning, the self-representation of Roma and the ‘gypsy’ image through Romani language drama, and attitudes to purism, mixing and cosmopolitanism.

Mixing and Unmixing Languages is suitable for academics and students in the areas of linguistic anthropology and linguistic ethnography, Romani studies, South-East European studies and sociolinguistics.

Table of Contents


Notes on Orthographies



Part 1: Roma, Prizren & Language

1 Terzimahalla, Durmish Aslano and Me

2 Durmish Aslano in Prizren: From Partizan to NGO

3 Intangible Culture And Tangible Employment After Socialism

Part 2: Purity, Mixture and Representation

4 O Romano Teatro and Gypsy Theatricality

5 Standardisation: Learning Linguistics in the Bath

6 Before the War: A Nostalgic Speech Genre

7 Between two fires? Dissonance, diglossia, disorientation



About the Author

Amelia Abercrombie is currently a postdoctoral research assistant working on language learning among marginalised migrants in Manchester. She completed a PhD in the department of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester in 2017. Before that she was at UCL, SSEES, completing MRes East European Studies in 2011, and BA Serbian and Croatian Studies in 2008. She has also worked as a support worker for mental health and learning disabilities.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Language and Identity

Routledge Studies in Language and Identity (RSLI) series aims to examine the intricate relation between language and identity from different perspectives. The series straddles fields such as sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, applied linguistics, historical linguistics and linguistic anthropology. It aims to study identity and language by utilizing novel methods of analysis as well as ground breaking theoretical approaches.

The books in this series proceed from the standpoint that language constitutes the weft and warp of social processes and practices, and that it cannot be studied in isolation from social phenomena. They shed light on the role of language in identity construction, in relation to a broad variety of themes and issues, including language variation and change, code-switching, bilingualism, translanguaging, language in the diaspora, minority languages, pidgins and creoles, language and globalization, language and the media, language in political discourse, language and gender, language and education, language policies and ideologies, and language and literature.

The series focuses on the contemporary world, but historical issues that pertain to identity construction are also covered. Within this general framework, the series offers academic case studies that not only address scholars in the field of linguistics, but are also of interest to researchers in political science, anthropology, sociology, media and history.

Editorial Board

Rizwan Ahmad Associate Professor of Sociolinguistics, Qatar University

Amira Agameya Visiting Professor and Chair of the Department of Applied Linguistics, the American University in Cairo 

Jannis Androutsopoulos Professor of German and Media Linguistics, University of Hamburg

Ana De Fina Professor, Italian Language & Linguistics, Georgetown University 

Ana Deumert Associate Professor, University of Cape Town

 John Edwards Senior Research Professor, St Francis Xavier University, Adjunct Professor (Graduate Studies), Dalhousie University

Ahmed Ech-Charfi Professor, Faculty of Education, Mohammed V University of Rabat

Mohssen Esseesy Associate Professor of Arabic Linguistics, George Washington University

Alexandra Georgakopoulou Professor of Discourse Analysis & Sociolinguistics, King’s College London

Barbara Johnstone Professor of English and Linguistics, Carnegie Mellon University

Amal Marogy Affiliated Researcher in Neo-Aramaic Studies, University of Cambridge

Tommaso Milani Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of the Witwatersrand

Catherine Miller Director of Research, CNRS

Heikki Palva Professor Emeritus, University of Helsinki

Gillian Ramchand Professor, Institute for Language and Culture, University of Tromsø

Cristina Sanz Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University

Kassim Shaaban Professor of English and Linguistics, American University in Beirut

Munther A Younes Senior Lecturer, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Cornell University

Keith Walters Professor of Applied Linguistics, Portland State University

Ruth Wodak Emerita Distinguished Professor, Lancaster University


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics