In this blog post, we introduce another member of the FEL executive committee.
I live in Champaign, Illinois, USA and was born in Albania, where I completed my undergraduate education and then worked for five years at the University of Tirana. After this, I lived for five years in Sicily, and then completed my graduate studies in linguistics and communications at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) where I now teach linguistics and Italian language in the Department of French and Italian.
I first encountered linguistic endangerment in practical terms, and then theoretically, during my years in Sicily, and have often visited two strongholds of the endangered Arbëresh language (related to Albanian), Piana degli Albanesi and Contessa Entellina. I have conducted sociolinguistic studies on Arbëresh (in 50 villages) that are not just descriptive accounts of different linguistic systems of the language, but are led by a theoretical framework of language endangerment guided by the pioneering studies of Fishman and Dorian. In the last five years I have undertaken fieldwork on Arvanitika, another Albanian language spoken throughout Greece, working mostly in Attika, Thives, Levadia and Hydra. Arvanitika is a severely endangered language; its speakers and socio-political conditions show traits that are completely opposite to those of Arbëresh.
I am also active in Albanian public communication as a writer, essayist, and literary critic, and have recently translated poetry and prose, including Miele sul coltello by Romeo Çollaku (co-translated from Albanian to Italian with Francesco Ferrari). I have served as a FEL executive committee member since 2018, and recently agreed to contribute regularly to the Ogmios newsletter and assist Chris Moseley, the editor.