The 2022 Conway Lectures: Paul Russell (Cambridge), "Interrogating the Anecdote: Thinking about Multilingualism in Western Britain, 600-1200"


Location: Eck Center Auditorium (View on

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About the Talk

Gerald Of Wales Cardiff Town Hall
"Gerald of Wales" by Welsh Icons (Dom) licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

While much excellent work has been done on multilingualism in the modern world, rather less attention has been paid to how those findings can be applied to the less well-evidenced areas of the medieval world. Moving from a world of plentiful evidence to scattered references in texts to the use of different languages or to occasional examples of a mangled vernacular or Latin sentence presents significant methodological difficulties. This lecture takes up residence in one place, medieval south Wales between approx. 600 and 1200, an area where language-contact and its consequences were played out over a very long period. Even though the evidence is thin and elusive, how we can read, understand, and generalize from these tiny fragments is the focus of this lecture.

About the Speaker

Paul Russell Web

Paul Russell is Professor of Celtic in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNC) in the University of Cambridge; research interests include multilingualism and language-contact; medieval Latin in the Celtic-speaking world (especially hagiography); learned texts in Celtic languages; Celtic philology and linguistics; early Irish glossaries; early Welsh orthography; Middle Welsh translation texts; medieval Welsh law. He has just completed an AHRC-funded project on Welsh hagiography and is currently Co-I on a Leverhulme-funded project to re-edit the works of Gerald of Wales.


About the Conway Lectures

In 2002, the Medieval Institute inaugurated a lecture series in honor of Robert M. and Ricki Conway. Robert Conway is a 1966 graduate of Notre Dame and trustee of the University, and he and his wife are long-time friends and supporters of the Medieval Institute. The annual Conway Lectures bring senior scholars of international distinction to Notre Dame each fall to speak on topics across a variety of disciplines. 

This talk will be followed by a reception in the Eck Center Atrium.