A radical new work aiming to redefine the relationship between travel and language focusing on the pivotal role of translation.
As more and more people travel, will everybody end up speaking English? Have you ever found yourself abroad and been humiliated at not understanding a word of the language? When you are in a country that ostensibly speaks the same language do you still find communication perplexing? These and other questions are explored in a pioneering new study from Michael Cronin on how humans as travellers cope in different situations where they speak the same language, speak some of it or do not speak it at all.
He examines the feelings of panic, embarrassment and pleasure that result from our contacts with others in different language contexts. We are all travellers now, he argues, as increased mobility means people are coming into contact with different languages and cultures. Whether we travel on foot, by bicycle, in planes, or surf the Net, we are faced with problems of language and translation.
Across the Lines is the first major study to look at the crucial dimension of language to our experiences of travel. Drawing on linguistics, philosophy, psychoanalysis, translation studies and the work of influential travel writers such Bruce Chatwin, Dervla Murphy, Eva Hoffman, Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson, Across the Lines celebrates the cultural diversity of our planet. But the author warns that travellers must be made aware of the fragile linguistic ecosystem of our planet if whole ways of seeing and expressing the world are not to be destroyed forever.