Tuesday 22nd May at 6pm was a very proud moment for a group of four ARU final-year students in English Language Linguistics. It was the moment at which the exhibition that they created, designed and produced opened to the public at Wisbech and Fenland Museum. Local linguist Michael Rouse, author of ‘How to speak Fen’ opened the proceedings.

The exhibition traces the origins and influences of the languages of the Fens through the various waves of migration to the area. Part of the exhibition focuses on place names which reveal the early traces of migration to the area. The second part turns to the local Fen dialect and its special grammar, words and phrases. Finally, the last part of the exhibition explores more recent linguistic migration to the region, asking which languages are now spoke locally and how they are themselves related to English as part of the Indo-European language family.

From Voice of the Fens

There is also a video interview with Michael Rouse, and several interactive exhibits where visitors are encouraged to contribute their local knowledge. The exhibition will run until 23rd Jun 2018, after which it is likely to move to another local museum. The project was facilitated by Dr Michelle Sheehan and Dr Txuss Martin at Anglia Ruskin University. For more information see coverage in the Wisbech Standard and the CambsTimes.