La mediazione linguistica come pratica di negoziazione, resistenza, attivismo e ospitalità sulle sponde del Mediterraneo


Abstract – The huge increase in migration flows through the Afro-Mediterranean routes during recent decades has shaped previously homogeneous populations into linguistically and culturally diverse ethnoscapes. Migration has therefore made a notable contribution to the acquisition and the use of English as a first, second and foreign language and to the burgeoning of new Englishes all over the world (Crystal 1997; Trudgill et al. 2002; Jenkins, 2003) thus questioning our traditional knowledge of language as a social projection of territorial unity held together by shared behavioral norms, beliefs and values. Specifically, by examining the communicative and translation processes which twelve interviewed interpreters, translators and language mediators were involved in during their interaction with newly-arrived migrants in Southern Italy, this paper addresses three main research issues concerning: a) the use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in the practice of language and cultural mediation and the extent to which this language may be perceived either as a barrier or as a bridge, thus affecting the relationship between the mediator and the migrant and the shaping of the politics of hospitality in the Mediterranean; b) the different linguistic and extra-linguistic strategies which mediators can adopt in the field of migration emergencies not only to serve communicative purposes, but also to humanize the migrants’ transfer to, and stay at the different camps across Italy; c) the interviewed language mediators’ narratives as a testimony of negotiation, activism and resistance to the strict institutionalized protocols of Italian immigration policies. Finally, in this chapter, we also intend to investigate the extent to which the interviewed mediators form not a mere aggregation of individuals achieving the task of translation as a mere linguistic transfer, but a community of practice held together by a conscious and critical sense of the performative power of their words and their mediation conceived as a way to create meanings which form and transform human reality.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v16p159

Keywords: language mediation; migration; ELF; negotiation; community of practice


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