Interview with Nora Michaelis from the German department

This year, Nora Michaelis is teaching language to all years. Now that the first term is over, it’s high time that we find out a bit more about Nora, her interests, as well as her very interesting career path as an interpreter!


Wir haben dieses Jahr im German Department leider keine DAAD-Lektorin, konnten aber sehr kurzfristig Nora Michaelis dafür gewinnen, in allen drei Jahrgängen in den Language Modulen zu unterrichten. Das erste Term ist bereits vorbei, also wird es höchste Zeit, dass wir Nora mal ein bisschen löchern und ein wenig mehr über sie und ihre Interessen erfahren.

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Memories of the “Mauerfall”

Thirty years ago, on the evening of 9 November 1989, the unimaginable happened: the gates between East and West Germany were opened. Elsewhere, citizens scaled, chipped at, and brought down the physical border that had separated East and West Berlin since August 1961. The “Mauerfall” (Fall of the Berlin Wall) paved the way for the unification of Germany and the massive political and cultural transformation known as “Die Wende.” This transition would not be easy (as our colleague Jan Palmowski writes in his commentary): the period was defined by immense challenges, some of which still leave their mark on Germany today. In this blog post, members of the German department share their memories of this eventful time.


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Student blog: What’s the Year Abroad like for a former beginner?

Hallo! My name is Ella and I started learning German at university. I have just come back off of my year abroad, the majority of which I spent in Trier in the west of Germany. Here is a quick look back on my experiences.

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Learning Russian

Всем привет! My name is Chloe and I have just finished my first year at Warwick studying Economics, French and Russian.

During the summer, I spent two weeks in Petrozavodsk, Russia, where I stayed with a host family and attended daily language lessons. Everyone at the language school was so welcoming – since there were only around 30 students in total, we all knew each other and regularly explored Petrozavodsk together in the afternoons and evenings.

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PhD Success!

On July 2nd 2019, Liam Lewis successfully defended his PhD thesis on ‘The Sounds of Beasts and Birds: Noise and Nonhuman Communication in Medieval French and English Texts Written in Anglo-Norman England’. Liam’s thesis is an original and wide-ranging exploration of the relationships between human and animal sounds and languages in twelfth- and thirteenth-century French and English literature. His project was supervised by Dr Emma Campbell (French Studies) and Prof. Christiania Whitehead (English and Comparative Literary Studies).

Liam’s work was examined by Professor Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University) and Professor Emma Mason (University of Warwick). The PhD passed with no corrections. The School warmly congratulates Liam on his success and wishes him all the very best for the future!

Liam Lewis post-vivaLiam Lewis (centre) with his examiners,
Prof. Emma Mason (left) and Prof. Jonathan Hsy (right)


Dr Will Amos in Bangkok

The Campus of Chulalongkorn University

Towards the end of June, Dr Will Amos travelled to Thailand to speak about his latest research at the XIScapes 11th International Linguistic Landscape Workshop, held at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. This annual conference brings together scholars around the world working in the relatively novel area of Linguistic Landscapes (LL), a cross-disciplinary offshoot from Sociolinguistics which explores written language and meaning in public spaces (physical and online). It is referred to as a ‘workshop’ as it hopes to attract both well-known names across multiple disciplines, as well as MA, PhD, and occasionally undergraduate students.

Multilingualism in central Bangkok

Will’s paper – written with his collaborator Dr Gilles Baro of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg – was entitled The Gendered Commodification of French on T-shirts. Will’s and Gilles’ work springs from the apparent recent increase of French (or sometimes French-looking, which is just as interesting) slogans on t-shirts sold in high-street shops in the UK and South Africa. From the initial sample size of just 100 items, only one slogan was found in the men’s range, and so the work explores explicitly the links that are being drawn by clothes designers between French and women. Categorising the slogans according to discourse, the vast majority were found to reference love, relationships, and shopping. The next step of the work will be to explore how far a) French can be considered a ‘feminine’ language; and b) to what extent women’s identities and bodies are being defined in terms of these discourses, whereas the same shops do not target male customers in the same way; and c) whether those who wear the t-shirts are aware, unaware, or ambivalent about these assumed links.

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Dr Amos with colleagues at Chulalongkorn

Elsewhere, the conference was a great success, with papers dealing with subjects as diverse as religious intolerance and tolerance at Manila Pride, the 8th Amendment referendum campaign in Ireland, Chinese train station names in Singapore, and Instascapes of independent coffee shops.