Jennifer Lee Wiebe is an artist and arts educator, based in New Brunswick, Canada.  She is on the faculty of the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (www.nbccd.ca), and the Board of Directors for ConneXion Artist Run Centre (www.connexionarc.org).

Currently English is a “lingua franca”, but the ability to communicate across languages in a common language will always be an evolving phenomena. The term “lingua franca” was coined in the 17th century to describe the language commonly used in the Mediterranean for trade: a blend of Arabic, French, Spanish and Italian. I am interested in personal language history, and in particular the current privilege of English – and it’s use worldwide.

The province of New Brunswick, Canada is the only official bilingual province in the country. Ironically our designation does not account for the languages native to the territory: Maliseet and Mi’kmaq. The domination of English (and French) as the lingua franca in New Brunswick is a colonial phenomena.

The political implication of language history in Barcelona, in particular Catalonian and Spanish, relates to the politics of “official” languages in Canada.  French and English, with Québécois nationalism.

We each have a personal language history that relates to our family, our place of birth, and the tides of immigration.  “LINGUA FRANCA spoken here” is documentation of communication and language history, one conversation at a time.

Jennifer Lee Wiebe is an artist and arts educator, based in New Brunswick, Canada.  She is on the faculty of the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (www.nbccd.ca), and the Board of Directors for ConneXion Artist Run Centre (www.connexionarc.org).

 

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