Two performances and an on-going installation which suggest that English might dispense of its ‘old world‘ roots given its re-deployment as the world’s most commonly used cross-border language.
The USA has the same number of English speakers as India and, if one was to count English learners as English speakers, the same number as China too. The United Kingdom has as many English speakers as Nigeria and as many as the Philippines.
With record numbers of English speakers around the globe, linguists have begun to note variations – as second users make idiosyncratic changes to the language pertinent to their locale. Nicoline van Harskamp’s ‘Without Title is an appeal to emancipate English from its British and American roots and celebrate its newfound expressive abundance. “One of the most interesting things that is happening with the English language” says van Harskamp is the disappearance of the ‘native speaker’ and the emergence of a ‘language of non-standards’.” ‘Without Title…..’ is an interactive installation enabling visitors to imagine this ‘language of non-standards’ – offering the chance to respond to and repeat words led by automated instruction. Bookended by two performances featuring actors directed by van Harskamp ‘the work explores phonetic progression beyond the realms of empire.
Performances are free, pre-booking required via Arnolfini Box Office on 0117 917 2300.
The installation runs from Friday 25 April to Sunday 28 April, and is free with no advance booking required.