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2020 Tribe Carnival.jpg

"Play yuh mas. Life is just ah masquerade."
- Andre Tanker

Glenda-Alicia Leung, Ph.D. (2013), University of Freiburg, is a linguist from the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago who now resides in colourful Colorado. Her beloved homeland is the carnival capital of the Caribbean. She is fascinated by typos because they interrupt the discursive mind and open a portal to reimagining language.

Her small collection of poems and vignettes of prose entitled "Bitter Cassava" will appear later this year in the Weathered the Storm anthology, published by A Beautiful Life Magazine. 

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On Carnival

A fter the quiet of Christmas, the carnival season begins. Little by little, the carnival excitement builds throughout the islands: the soft tinkering at night of steel pan players practising in community pan yards till midnight, mas camp workers building costumes till the wee hours of the morning, young voices of children singing calypso in schoolyards to the applause of their classmates, stick fighters making grand charge challenges and delivering cracking blows.

  

As the momentum builds, thousands make the pilgrimage to Trinidad and Tobago every February or March to experience the liberating catharsis of music and masquerade. Carnival is a liminal reality where mere mortals become dancing foot soldiers. From the slow 4am crawl of J’ouvert morning dirty mas, revellers clad in mud, oil, and paint make their way through the streets to the drumming of riddim sections, marking the opening the Carnival. When the sun comes up, these fête-ers on a mission overthrow the streets on Carnival Monday and Tuesday with libation, gyration, bawdy songs, risqué costuming, and skin-on-skin revelry. The cacophony of feting throughout the islands unapologetically invades the Trinidadian soundscape as hundreds of steel pan players take to the streets. Soca music blares from every corner bar, maxi taxi bus, open air fete and big truck trailed by thousands of masqueraders. Soca is the indigenous party music of Trinidad and Tobago, which is the youthful incarnation of older forms of Caribbean song making, namely calypso and kaiso. For two days, carnival turns the world upside down as the veil of acceptability is stretched and breached before it mends and tightens back to the sobering reality of a respectable Ash Wednesday.

To Glenda, carnival is more than a celebratory aesthetic or seasonal event. Carnival is the muse that whispers to her, inspiring much of her academic research. She has utilized various linguistic frameworks such as indexicality, acts of identity, and conversational analysis to investigate languaging in soca music and performative spaces.

Carnival-Related Publications:

 

Most recently in the epilogue of When Creole and Spanish Collide, Glenda was encouraged by her fellow Caribbean creative sisters in Germany—writer and podcaster Rhea Ramjohn and artistic researcher Felisha Maria whom she met back in the day at the University of Freiburg—to take her writing into a different direction. In "Quiet Spiral," Glenda imagines the Caribbean as a perpetually propagating creative consciousness, rather than a physical place—an idea much inspired by carnival.

On Callaloo

 

T he most basic way to describe "callaloo" is to say it's like spinach soup, though that's a gross understatement. Callaloo is nothing like spinach swamp water. Callaloo is one of the signature dishes served for Sunday lunch in Trinidad and Tobago. It takes time to make a sweet callaloo: boiling down dasheen bush leaves in coconut milk with ochroes and pumpkin into a thick, rich stew. A little salted beef or pig tail adds flavour. And to finish it, stir a couple of land crabs in the callaloo, and crown it off with a whole red scotch bonnet pepper. Callaloo is the sweetest culinary union.

Callaloo is a common metaphor to describe the mixed heritage and ethnicity of people in Trinidad and Tobago as the population is quite diverse and hybridity is normative. Documenting speech patterns, language stereotypes, and language attitudes in Trinidad's cultural and linguistic callaloo has been the other significant strand of Glenda's research.

Key Publications:

On Career


G lenda is a linguist strongly positioned in the localization industry, having held roles at some of the world’s leading localization companies. She is currently an Electronic Clinical Outcomes Assessment (eCOA) Process Consultant at RWS Regulated Industries. Prior to that she held the position of Strategic Implementation Manager at TransPerfect within Translations.com. Previously, she was a Linguistic Validation Project Manager at RWS Life Sciences, an industry-leading language service provider (LSP) that specialises in medical translation and clinical outcomes assessment (COA) translation. She formerly worked as a Linguistic Solution Consultant at SDL, one of the world’s largest LSPs in translation services and translation software. Prior to her career in localization, she lectured in applied linguistics and English to speakers of other languages at Kansas State University, the University of Freiburg, and the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Glenda earned her B.A. in English from the University of Florida and her M.A. in applied linguistics & TESOL from Ball State University. She holds a Ph.D. in English linguistics from the University of Freiburg.

 

Glenda currently has her eye out on the horizon on how to cultivate intuition in research design and how to bridge the gap between academic linguistic study and industry.

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Always looking to future. Let's connect.

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