“Our Gipsy Blood”: A Pragmatic Analysis of Minor Languages in Peaky Blinders


The present paper seeks to explore how, in the popular TV series Peaky Blinders (BCC, 2013-2022), minor languages are employed to deliver "face attacks". My analysis will be centred on the pragmatic function exerted by/towards the Shelby family members – the leading gangsters of Birmingham, where the plot unravels – when the so-called “broken Romanian” (Sherlock 2018) is spoken.
My speech is divided into two parts: the former introduces the TV series, provides some information about the “gipsy” origins and features of the protagonists and illustrates the methodology, with special reference to Goffman’s concept of “face”, Politeness and Impoliteness Theory; the latter offers a pragmatic analysis of two excerpts in light of the im/polite usage of Romanian. More precisely, I intend to demonstrate that such an idiom is either exploited as a secretive language to perform positive impoliteness – consequently, creating distance and disassociation in the speaker(s)-hearer(s) relationship – or as the privileged means to strengthen bonds – thus, performing an example of positive politeness, where the speaker wants to be accepted by the hearer. Furthermore, in the final part of the paper, the focus of my speech will be centred on the audiovisual translation of the dialogues mentioned above: the official English product will be compared with the Italian dubbed version (both provided by Netflix) to demonstrate whether the minority language has been cherished or not.

Author Information
Valentina Rossi, eCampus University of Novedrate, Italy

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2023
Stream: Language

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon