The Linguist

The Linguist 54,2

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 23 of 35 FEATURES article published in 2010, 2 otsuji and Pennycook defined the practice: Metrolingualism gives us a way to move beyond current terms such as 'multilingualism' and 'multiculturalism'. It is a product of modern and often urban interaction, describing the ways in which people of different and mixed backgrounds use, play with and negotiate identities through language… The notion of metrolingualism gives us ways of moving beyond common frameworks of language, providing insights into contemporary, urban language practices, and accommodating both fixity and fluidity in its approach to language use. the negotiation of identity is a key function of Facebook – an increasingly multilingual space where plurilinguals can redefine themselves, exercising choice in terms of language and culture, while creating multi-identities for a range of different audiences and contexts. Language becomes an instant, virtual paint palette, no longer rule-bound, and freed from the constraints of both monolingualism and translation. Notes 1 the outcomes were presented in November 2014 at a SoAS/Mercator centre conference on 'Multilingualism and Social Media' in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands 2 otsuji, e and Pennycook, A, 2010, 'Metrolingualism: Fixity, fluidity and language in flux' in International Journal of Multilingualism, routledge, 7:3, pp.240-254 How do the German and Norwegian The Hobbit deal with Tolkien's riddles, t he literary output of J r r tolkien was defined by his linguistic studies. he read english Philology at university and subsequently taught Anglo-Saxon at oxford, and the influence of old english is evident in The Hobbit, particularly in the riddles that Bilbo and Gollum exchange during their battle of wits. these use the kind of alliteration ('mouthless mutters'), metaphor ('an eye in a blue face') and rhythmic repetition ('It cannot be seen, cannot be felt') that characterise old english literature. So how have tolkien's translators into other Germanic languages dealt with these Anglo-Saxon influences? to find out, I looked closely at the German and Norwegian translations by Wolfgang krege and Nils Ivar Agøy (for the riddles in all three languages, see the box opposite). 1 In German, the riddles abound with descriptive language, as can be seen from riddle 1. It begins 'What has roots as nobody sees/Is taller than trees', but the German adds und Wipfelsäume ('and the borders of treetops'). this has a dual purpose: extending the original poetic image and maintaining the rhyming pattern. the Norwegian translation is mostly faithful to the original, the only exception being the third line – 'up, up it goes' – which instead adopts the conversational tone reminiscent of Scandinavian children's literature (ja, svimlende høyt kan det stikke; 'yes, it can rise vertiginously high'). 2 there is an interesting detail in the opening line of the second riddle in German. the translation corrects the factual error 'thirty white horses' to Zweiunddreißig Schimmel – the answer being 'teeth', of which an average adult has 32. the Norwegian version is less concerned with accuracy, sticking to 30 (hestene tretti). 3 the rhythm of the third riddle is based on an alternate rhyme and a '-less + verb' construction, as in 'Voiceless it cries/ Wingless flutters'. In the German, the rhyme is less regular and the structure shifts to 'verb + ohne + noun' (ohne providing a substitute for '-less'), as in 'Schreit ohne Stimme/ fliegt ohne Schwinge' ('cries without voice/ flies without wings'). Into Middle The first-person voice is only implied in the original. This addition gives the German a fairytale quality SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, in 2011 © ShutterStock

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