An Overlooked Colonial English of Europe: the Case of Gibraltar


Gibraltar, popularly known as “The Rock”, has been a British overseas territory since the Treaty of Utrecht was signed in 1713. The demographics of this unique colony reflect its turbulent past, with most of the population being of Spanish, Portuguese or Italian origin (Garcia 1994). Additionally, there are prominent minorities of Indians, Maltese, Moroccans and Jews, who have also continued to influence both the culture and the languages spoken in Gibraltar (Kellermann 2001). Despite its status as the only English overseas territory in continental Europe, Gibraltar has so far remained relatively neglected by scholars of sociolinguistics, new dialect formation, and World Englishes. The paper provides a summary of the current state of sociolinguistic research in Gibraltar, focusing on such aspects as identity formation, code-switching, language awareness, language attitudes, and norms. It also delineates a plan for further research on code-switching and national identity following the 2016 Brexit referendum.


Gibraltar; code-switching; sociolinguistics; New Englishes; dialect formation; Brexit

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Published : 2018-12-30

Paciorkowski, T. (2018) “An Overlooked Colonial English of Europe: the Case of Gibraltar”, Crossroads. A Journal of English Studies, (23), pp. 59-71. doi: 10.15290/cr.2018.23.4.05.

Tomasz Paciorkowski 
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland  Poland