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Translingualism, Translation and Caribbean Poetry

Mother Tongue Has Crossed the Ocean

Linguists estimate that there are around 7,000 languages in the world, but many are under threat. Translingualism, Translation and Caribbean Poetry is a multi-language poetry collection comprising over fifty translations of Curaçao poet Hilda de Windt Ayoubi’s ‘Lenga di mama’ (‘Mother Tongue’), alongside three additional poems each providing a different perspective on the mother tongue.

De Windt Ayoubi’s sharp and socially charged poetry has inspired translations from across the world; collected here for the first time, they serve to protect the native languages and cultures – particularly the minority languages – of their translators, who range from expert linguists to speakers of underrepresented languages. In his accompanying essay, Pieter Muysken considers the role of translation in addressing this urgent cultural concern, discussing language loss and revitalization, bilingual translations and mass translations. Complete with maps, language profiles, and the poet’s personal interviews, this collection explores the emotional, cultural and intellectual importance of language conservation through poetry.

Foto van Facebookpagina Hilda de Windt Ayoubi

Hilda de Windt Ayoubi was born and raised in Curaçao. She was a secondary school teacher and a lecturer at the University in Curacao. Her works include Gedicht (2018) and Geef me je Taal (2019); for her Papiamento translation of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (2014), she was awarded the Kahlil Gibran Chair at the University of Maryland. In 2019 she received UNESCO’s Certificate of Merit for her work on Papiamento.

Pieter C. Muysken was born in Bolivia, but grew up in the Netherlands. He was Professor Linguistics at the Universities of Amsterdam, Leiden, and finally Nijmegen, and winner of the Bernhard Prize, Prix des Ambassadeurs, and the Spinoza Prize. His life-long research on Ecuadorian Quechua culminated in El kichwa ecuatoriano: Orígenes, riqueza, contactos (2019).

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