Hi there! My name is Montserrat Forcadell and I am delighted to be your @CatalanVoices curator for this week. I currently live in Barcelona, a fantastic city, but I’m proud to share with you that my hometown is Riudoms, a small town in Tarragona, where the greatest architect on Earth (at least to me) was born. Gaudí was baptised in Reus, but he drew his first breath in Mas de la Calderera, his parent’s country house in the municipal boundary of Riudoms (I’ll be more than happy to give more detailed facts to anyone interested via Twitter @montseforcadell or mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I’m a lecturer (Associate Professor) at the Universitat de Barcelona, where I teach English linguistics. In fact, I moved to Barcelona to teach at the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, after having taught English at several secondary schools in Catalonia, mainly in the Tarragona area, and following a year spent in the UK completing a Master’s degree in Theoretical Linguistics at the University of Reading (more famous for the summer festival held in town rather than its great campus and faculties). I also hold a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the UPF.
For those of you into Linguistics (otherwise you may skip this paragraph altogether), my main academic fields of interest are Pragmatics (information packaging), Prosody (intonation patterns and sentence accent), and Applied Linguistics (contrastive English/Catalan marked structures). Here are some of my articles to give you an idea of the focus of my research: “Subject informational status and word order: Catalan as an SVO Language”, Journal of Pragmatics, 2013; Structural change in Catalan discourse, Studies in Language, 2014; “The translation into Catalan of marked structures in King Lear”, Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, 2014; “Seqüències no desaccentuables en català: prosòdia aliena en el català de TV3”, Estudis Romànics, 2015; “Catalan pronominalisation and information structure: the role of primary accent”, Catalan Review, 2015; and “New prosodic patterns in Catalan: information structure and (de)accentability”, Journal of Pragmatics, 2016. Currently, I am also interested in how to tackle contrastive English/Catalan marked structures so that university students might have a better understanding and command of them, especially when they involve prosodic factors linked to primary accent position, which in Catalan plays a central role in the mapping of its syntax, and its language typology in general.
Nowadays, I’m quite worried about the health of Catalan. Most of my academic publications are intended to shed some light on what I think is the effect of the massive pressure Spanish is putting on Catalan, so that linguists might be aware of the need to address certain syntactic issues asap, unless we don’t mind Catalan developing into a “language” with Catalan lexical items, but a Spanish syntactic structure.
Those who are still reading will have realised that the study of Language (and of Catalan specifically) is one of my passions. Another is fighting for Catalonia’s secession from Spain. But all this would be a bit dry without the pleasures of (good) wine tasting with friends (I’ve done a million tastings but have learnt very little!), skiing and snowboarding, furniture and interior design (just looking) and great food (just eating; cooking is a project that is still pending, as some of my friends are too good at it for me to get motivated to start!).
I hope you follow me on Twitter this week and contact me about any issue you like. It would be great to make new acquaintances!