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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Celebrating 10 years of the MMLL Dorothy Gabe Society: Semper floreat!

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    17 May 2021

    At Murray Edwards College, Modern and Medieval Languages, and Linguistics is a thriving subject, with strong undergraduate numbers, a growing postgraduate community and distinguished Fellows.

    The Gabe Society is the College’s MMLL society and was founded in 2011 by Dr Elizabeth Drayson, the current President, in conjunction with Dr Emanuela Davey and Dr John Guthrie. It is named in honour of an eminent former MMLL Fellow, Dorothy Gabe Coleman, who was Fellow in French from 1960 – 1992 and specialised in French Renaissance Studies. 

    The society consists of MMLL undergraduates, postgraduates, Erasmus students and Fellows, and holds regular meetings in Michaelmas and Lent terms. We have been delighted to have Erasmus students in our cohorts all through the years, and will continue to maintain connections with them and welcome new exchange students from universities abroad.

    Unlike many College language societies, the Gabe Society focuses on undergraduate study and research, and our speakers are always fourth-year undergraduates, who give 20-minute papers on a subject of academic interest to them, followed by questions and refreshments. There is an annual dinner for undergraduates, postgraduates and Fellows, and the society may also host invited speakers during the Easter term.

    Every year, the MMLL finalist, who gains a First in her fourth-year Tripos with the highest score in College, is awarded the title of 'MMLL Dorothy Gabe Scholar' for that academic year. This appears on the College board with the list of scholars at graduation. 

    The aim of the society is to shine a spotlight on academic exploration and inquiry at undergraduate level, to bring a spirit of dynamic innovation to the subject at Murray Edwards, and to foster social interaction among all MMLL students. Papers have been given on a wide range of topics including the films of Fellini, medieval French romance, Latin-American literature and translation from Old High German. During lockdown, to keep the spirit going, meetings continued online to bring scattered participants together, but next year we hope to return to our usual in-person events.

    We are hoping to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Gabe Society next academic year with a special event and dinner.


    For linguistics students, buried in the intricacies of grammar, mysterious sound patterns, and incomprehensible inflections, each and every meeting of the Gabe Society is a wonderful trip to places where this mysterious linguistic code becomes alive and finds purpose in the poems, songs and stories our MML colleagues study and share with us. The meetings have been a source of inspiration for all of us and sparked some of the strongest friendships among students.  Dr Dora Alexopolou, Fellow in Linguistics

    I look forward to Gabe Society meetings each term. I'm always impressed both by the authority and by the poise of our speakers, and I love hearing about their research interests. The dinners afterwards are great fun too. Dr Charlotte Lee, Fellow in German