Metaphors of Multilingualism : Changing Attitudes towards Language Diversity in Literature, Linguistics and Philosophy book cover
1st Edition

Metaphors of Multilingualism
Changing Attitudes towards Language Diversity in Literature, Linguistics and Philosophy

ISBN 9781138607507
Published April 14, 2020 by Routledge
292 Pages

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Book Description

Metaphors of Multilingualism explores changing attitudes towards multilingualism by focusing on shifts both in the choice and in the use of metaphors. Rainer Guldin uses linguistics, philosophy, literature, literary theory and related disciplines to trace the radical redefinition of multilingualism that has taken place over the last decades. This overall change constitutes a paradigmatic shift. However, despite the emergence of the new paradigm, the traditional monolingual point of view is still significantly influencing present-day attitudes towards multilingualism. Consequently, the emergent paradigm has to be studied in close connection with its predecessor.

This book is the first extensive attempt to provide a critical overview of the key metaphors that organize current perceptions of multilingualism. Instead of an exhaustive list of possible metaphors of multilingualism, the emphasis is on three closely interrelated and overlapping clusters that play a central role in both paradigms: organic metaphors of the body, kinship and gender metaphors, as well as spatial metaphors. The examples are taken from different languages, among them French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.

This is ground-breaking reading for scholars and researchers in the fields of linguistics, literature, philosophy, media studies, anthropology, history and cultural studies.

Table of Contents



Part I Bodies

1. The Patched-Up Face of Multilingualism

2. Organic Metaphors of Language

3. Grotesque Body Images

4. Body Parts: Tongues and Eyes

5. The Embodied Plurilingual Self

Part II Family Ties

6. Mother-Tongues and Linguistic Family Trees

7. Beyond Bilingual Bigamy

8. Interlingual Predicaments

9. Linguistic Promiscuity and Incestuous Bisexualism

10. Adoptive and Stepmother Tongues

Part III Spaces

11. Territorializing National Languages

12. The Centrifugal Forces of Variation and Stratification

13. Continents and Archipelagos

14. The Ocean of Heteroglossia

15. Networks and Constellations




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Rainer Guldin is lecturer for German Culture and Language at the Faculties of Communication Sciences and Economics of the Università della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano (Switzerland). His publications include Vilém Flusser (1920-1991). Ein Leben in der Bodenlosigkeit. Biographie (2017) and Translation as Metaphor (2016).