10 minutes with… Dr Viktor Leggio

Posted on February 11, 2018 by

The ’10-minutes with’-interviews are back, this time featuring new lecturer Dr Viktor Daniele Leggio! While Viktor is the newest addition to our lecturer crew, he is definitely not new to Manchester. In fact, he moved to Manchester to study here many years ago, and in 2013 he became a doctor under supervision of Professor Yaron Matras. Afterwards, he stayed here and worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the Multilingual Manchester project. Today, Viktor sat down with Manchet to answer a few questions.

Manchet: As what kind of linguist would you describe yourself?

Viktor: A lingeekst. That’s what we all are, no? Geeks obsessed with that amazing thing that is language. What interests me the most is the social life of speakers, so you might say I’m a sociolinguist. Unless you’re a number-crunching variationist. In that case you’d probably say I’m a sociologist of language. It makes little difference to me, actually. Essentially, I like to look at why people use their linguistic repertoires the way they do.

Manchet: Why does linguistics matter?

Viktor: Well, because it pays for my bills and pleasures, of course! Then there is the sort of trivial matter that linguistics is an essential part of social sciences. It helps us understand how we relate and communicate with each other and with our environment, how we flag our imagined self and make it real for others through each and every speech act we perform. And when you start looking beyond the individual, you could see how languages become tools in structuring our societies.

M: If you weren’t a linguist, what would you be doing?

V: I’d be homeless! I studied acting for a while, so I could have been an actor, probably a small-stage one. For a while I ran a kitchen in a Slovene squatted concert venue. I could still be there serving food to half-drunk party goers. If I were to change now, I’d probably set up a bed & breakfast in Palermo, my hometown, and take guests to all the amazing street-food stalls in town.

M: Exactly how good are you at scrabble?

V: Such a boring game! And competitive too! I only play narrative, collaborative games where nobody wins but everybody has fun telling a story together.

M: Have you ever had a conversation with anyone thinking they were someone else?

V: Actually, I once thought I was Napoleon while having a conversation with a guy thinking he was the Duke of Wellington…it didn’t go well…

M: Weird. So… What’s the most fun thing to do in Manchester?

V: Stumbling upon my students in a dive bar, share a drink with them and talk about anything but linguistics.

M: Describe the LEL Department using 3 words (of any language)

V: Geeky, fun, confusionario

M: Would you rather be fluent in all languages but never be able to travel or be able to travel anywhere but be monolingual forever?

V: I’m happy speaking 5 languages and travelling when I’m in the mood, thanks!

M: Would you rather be able to remember everything you read (assuming that you can’t already, har har) or be able to talk to animals?

V: It would be good if I could remember just half of what I read.

M: Would you rather be a reverse centaur or a reverse mermaid/merman?

V: What about a reverse faun?

M: We’ll allow it.


Featured image by Lauren Fonteyn