Translingualism Archive

Results in L2 Journal Articles

Whose ‘Crisis in Language’? Translating and the Futurity of Foreign Language Learning

This contribution questions to whom and to whose learning experience has the idiom of crisis that so pervades the domain of U.S. foreign language teaching been addressed. The authors report on an advanced foreign language classroom-based study from 2013, in which undergraduate German learners translated a 14-page prose poem about translingual experience—“Das Klangtal” (“The Sound Valley”) by British-Austrian poet and translator Peter Waterhouse (2003). The course—located at a university in the American Southwest—created an opportunity for the students and the instructor to reflect on a constellation of relations—transdisciplinarity, translingualism, and transcontextuality—often perceived under the aegis of a “crisis” of the subject. Through an analysis of the students’ reflections as translators, readers, and languagers, the study considers ...

Introduction to Special Issue: Literary Translingualism: Multilingual Identity and Creativity

The guest editors introduce L2Journal readers to an emerging field of translingual literature--texts by authors using more than one language or a language other than their primary one. The diverse contributions by scholars of literary translingualism presented here contribute to multilingualism studies a unique lens of literary texts infused by multilingual creativity.

‘The Heartache of Two Homelands…’: Ideological and Emotional Perspectives on Hebrew Transnational Writing

The work of immigrant writers, whose professional identity is built around language, can deepen understandings of sociolinguistic and psychological issues, including aspects of the immigration experience; the position of language in the ideological and emotional value systems, and the significance of language for individual development. This paper deals with a number of translingual writers ...

Translingual Paratopia and the Universe of Katalin Molnar

The concept of paratopia in Dominique Maingueneau’s literary discourse analysis designates the writers’ paradoxical location, their oscillation between belonging and not belonging to the literary field and to the society. This in-between situation is also characteristic to bilingual people, and as such translingual writers ...

Writing the Translingual Life: Recent Memoirs and Auto-Fiction by Russian-American and Russian-German Novelists

One of the more remarkable developments in translingual literature over the past decade has been the rise of a new wave of Soviet-born authors writing in languages other than their native Russian. Autobiographical elements have always figured prominently in their fiction, and some of these authors have recently crossed the boundary into non-fiction by writing memoirs. The process of writing in a second language about becoming a writer in a second language gives these books a particular self-referential quality. This essay surveys the latest memoirs and auto-fiction (published 2012-14) of five Soviet-born immigrant novelists in the U.S. and Germany—Gary Shteyngart, Lena Gorelik, Lara Vapnyar, Olga Grjasnowa, and Maxim Shrayer.  It argues that constructing a narrative of the self for a foreign audience serves as a crucial step in the gestation of a translingual novelist. This narrative urge often predates the actual mastery of the new language. Rather than as the result of an already-achieved acquisition of a new linguistic medium, telling one’s story in a non-native language emerges as a means toward language learning and integration.

Selective Bibliography of Translingual Literature

Note from the guest editors: Translingual Literature is literature written in a language not native to the author, in two languages, or in a mix of languages. This bibliography is the very first attempt to create and publish such an academic tool for researchers of multilingualism, second-language acquisition, comparative literature, and other fields. Given the scope of languages and literatures involved, certain limitations had to be set. This bibliography, which cannot presume to be exhaustive, contains only books written and published IN ENGLISH; documentation of the vast body of translingual writing in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Latin, Persian, Urdu, and other languages awaits another day. The bibliography is comprised of three categories: 1) Fiction; 2) Non-fiction (memoirs and essays); 3) Interdisciplinary Scholarship Related to Translingual Literature. It is a testimony to the vitality of the field, to the prolific ongoing contributions of fiction, nonfiction, and scholarship in translingual literature, that the bibliography is destined to be incomplete even before it is published. As a true 21st-century effort, this bibliography was “crowd-sourced,” i.e. gathered thanks to the contributions of the community of translingual literature scholars and edited by L2 Journal guest editors, Natasha Lvovich and Steven G. Kellman.