Book review: In and Out of English
Harold F. Schiffman
haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Tue Jan 30 14:59:15 UTC 2007
In and Out of English
From: Richard Hallett <r-hallettneiu.edu>
Subject: In and Out of English
EDITORS: Anderman, Gunilla; and Rogers, Margaret
TITLE: In and Out of English
SUBTITLE: For Better, for Worse?
SERIES: Translating Europe
PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
Richard W. Hallett, Department of Linguistics, Northeastern Illinois
This book, a collection of papers on various aspects of translation
vis--vis English, is 'the result of the Enlargement of the European Union
and the rapidly changing face of Europe' (vii). Accordingly, all of the
examples and case studies presented in the volume come from European
countries. The exception is Chapter 2, which focuses on English and Lao in
the Laotian context. The body of the book consists of the nineteen
chapters briefly summarized below.
Chapter 1: 'English in Europe: For better, for worse?' by Gunilla Anderman
and Margaret Rogers (1-26)
Recognizing the role of English as the European (and global) lingua
franca, the authors present six 'arguments' regarding the maintenance and
possible promotion of English in Europe: linguistic imperialism, global
English, English and translation, global English language learning and
teaching, international English, and pragmalinguistics. Anderman and
Rogers provide a brief history of languages of widespread communication
(colonization), e.g. Greek, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German,
Russian, and -- of course -- English. They then discuss the rise of global
English, its influence on European languages, its native and non-native
speakers, and its asymmetry in translation, among other aspects of English
in Europe and the United States. The authors end the chapter with a quote
from David Crystal questioning whether the global role of English will be
viewed as a blessing or a curse for future generations.
Chapter 2: 'English translation and hegemony in the global era' by Stuart
Campbell begins his chapter by stating that professional translators,
including theorists, educators, and practitioners, have ignored the spread
of English, treating the language like any other language, not as a
particular lingua franca. He discusses three key issues in translating in
and out of English: power relations, value neutrality, and legitimate
space. To illustrate the unequal balance in translation, he contrasts
training community translators in Australia to developing a translation
and interpreting unit in Laos.
Chapter 3: 'Unequal systems: On the problem of Anglicisms in contemporary
French usage' by Christopher Rollason (39-56)
After stating that Anglicisms and pseudo-Anglicisms are not new in the
French language, Rollason lists possible reasons for the hostility of the
perceived 'Americanisation' of French, quoting journalists, literary
critics, and psychoanalysts. The author then proffers possible motives for
the use of non-French terms, as well as the deliberate selection of French
lexical items, in written discourse.
Chapter 4: 'E-mail, Emilio or mensaje de correo electronico? The Spanish
language fight for purity in the new technologies' by Jeremy Munday
Munday gives a summary of some of the ways Spanish, not only a major world
language but also an official language of both the UN and the EU, is
reacting to the spread of English. He focuses on the fight for language
purity by the Real Academia de la Lengua and the Instituto Cervantes.
Chapter 5: 'The influence of English on Italian: The case of translations
of economic articles' by Maria Teresa Musacchio (71-96)
Musacchio reports on a study using a parallel/comparable corpus of
economic articles to determine 'to what extent language contact in
translating affects target text production beyond lexical borrowing to
take the form of transfer or patterns such as syntactic constructs,
reproduction of source text repetition and cohesion' (73). She finds that
in addition to transferring English lexical items in Italian economic
articles, translators often transfer English syntactic structures and
Chapter 6: 'The influence of English on Greek: A sociological approach' by
Polymnia Tsagouria (97-107)
In this chapter, the author concentrates on the sociological aspects of
the influence of English lexical items on the Greek lexicon. Tsagouria
outlines major developments in Greek society, beginning with the late
nineteenth century, and analyzes the attitudes of Greek writers who employ
English vocabulary in their writings.
Chapter 7: 'Polish under siege?' by W. Chlopicki (108-122)
The author of this chapter addresses the question of whether or not Polish
is threatened by the spread of English. After claiming that Polish is used
by 40 million citizens of Poland as well as 10 to 15 million Polish
speakers residing abroad, he provides an historical background on the
language contact situation in Poland and concludes that Polish is not
indeed dying as a result of English influence.
Chapter 8: 'New Anglicisms in Russian' by Nelly G. Chachibaia and Michael
R. Colenso (123-132)
In this chapter, Chachibaia and Colenso address the issue of why there are
so many recent Anglicisms in the Russian language. They argue that there
are three main reasons for borrowings from English: a lack of an
equivalent word in Russian, an established positive/negative connotation
that an equivalent word lacks, and an established stylistic/emphatic
Chapter 9: 'Anglo-Finnish contacts: Collisions and collusions' by Kate
Moore and Krista Varantola (133-152)
In this chapter the authors seek to answer the question of what happens
'when a Germanic, analytic language like English meets a
non-Indo-European, Finno-Ugric synthetic language such as Finnish' (133).
To that end, they comment on the domains of English in Finland; e.g.
English in advertising, English in information technology, English in job
ads, English on television, 'translationese', and 'Finglish'.
Chapter 10: 'Contemporary English influence on German -- a perspective
from linguistics' by Stephen Barbour (153-160)
Barbour addresses the widespread perception that German is being intensely
influenced by English. He categorizes the German lexicon according to
words that are core German words (Deutsche Wrter) and words that are from
foreign languages (Fremdwrter), as well as those that derive from French
and those that derive from English. He concludes that English is neither
destroying nor taking over German.
Chapter 11: 'Anglicisms and translation' by Henrik Gottlieb (161-184)
Gottlieb's focus is the occurrence of Anglicisms in the Danish context.
Claiming 'Anglicisms constitute perhaps the strongest unifying factor
among the world's languages' (161), the author provides a typology of
Anglicisms in Danish, a hierarchy of Danish lexical Anglicisms, and a list
of the role of Anglicisms in Danish. He concludes the chapter with the
claim that the only 'pure' form of a language is a fossilized one.
Chapter 12: 'Anglicisms in Norwegian: When and where?' by Stig Johansson
and Anne-Line Graedler (185-200)
Johansson and Graedler investigate the use of English lexical items in
Norwegian, in their examination of the use of Anglicisms in music,
fashion, sports, soccer, the Olympics, films, television, advertising,
economics, and slang, inter alia. They conclude their chapter with a brief
discussion of Norwegian attitudes towards Anglicisms.
Chapter 13: 'Fingerprints in translation' by Martin Gellerstam (201-213)
In this chapter, Gellerstam examines the current period of strong English
influence on the Swedish lexicon. The author uses the phrase 'leaving
fingerprints in translation' to refer to cases in which the original text,
in this case English, influences the translation into Swedish. For
Gellerstam such fingerprints are the result of early English language
acquisition and the absence of more than one Swedish alternative for the
Chapter 14: 'Translation and/or editing -- The way forward? By Emma Wagner
Wagner asks, 'What is happening to English?' She answers her question by
introducing a new term, 'sub-English', 'the defective but by no means
standardised or impoverished English that is often used for international
communication' (215). Following an explanation of the causes of
'sub-English', a categorization of translation types, and an examination
of language use and types in different EU institutions, she offers two
ways of improving the quality of original texts, i.e. through training and
Chapter 15: 'Translating into a second language: Can we, should we?' by
Beverly Adab (227-241)
The thesis of Adab's chapter is to argue that the 'translation meme' of
translators' working into their first language is becoming untenable, 'due
to the lack of native speakers of the target language who have a similar
competence in the source language' (227). For Adab the issue is to enhance
the acceptability of the target texts. She concludes her chapter with a
recommendation that translators work within a controlled form of the
Chapter 16: 'Translating English as a non-native language: The Dutch
connection' by Marcel Thelen (242-255)
Thelen takes up the issue of the 'mother tongue principle', i.e. that
translators should translate works into their first language. Focusing on
the Dutch context, he argues against the stipulation that only native
English speakers should translate texts into English. He then discusses a
General Subject-Field-Specific Language Studies program as a model for a
new and independent discipline for translation schools/programs.
Chapter 17: 'Native versus non-native speaker competence in German-English
translation: A case study' by Margaret Rogers (256-274)
Also taking up the issue of the mother tongue principle is Rogers. In this
chapter she discusses a case study in which translations from German into
English by native speakers of English were compared to translations from
German into English by non-native speakers of English (native speakers of
German). In the small case study she shows how the native speakers'
translations were actually less fit, supporting her argument that
competent non-native speakers can outperform native speakers in
Chapter 18: ' l'anglaise or the invisible European' by Gunilla Anderman
In this chapter Anderman discusses the plight of European authors who
write in their native languages rather than in English. After presenting
the hegemony of prevailing literary traditions (in which French plays were
routinely translated into English), she contrasts that with twentieth
century literary and linguistic hegemony (in which English works are
routinely translated into other languages).
Chapter 19: 'Intercultural dialogue: The challenge of communicating across
language boundaries' by Anne Ife (286-299)
Ife considers the particular characteristics of people communicating in a
language that is not the first language of the majority of the world, i.e.
English. In this final chapter of the book she focuses on the need for
pragmatic competence in the lingua franca context.
Though the inclusion of various authors' works and opinions increases the
breadth of the book, it also diminishes the depth of analysis in any given
context. Accordingly, the reader feels as though the book tries to do too
much while simultaneously not doing enough. The writing throughout the
book is uneven. Some chapters present clearly defined/analyzed research
with specific conclusions; others seem only to offer anecdotes of limited
Overall, the sequencing of the chapters is easy to follow. Roughly, the
first half of the book is devoted to contemporary examples of English
influence in various European contexts, and the second half consists of
discussions of the force of English influence in translation and arguments
against having only native speakers of English translate into English.
Given the structure of the book, the inclusion of the second chapter,
which focuses on Australia and Laos, is puzzling. Missing from the book is
a final chapter that makes the connections among the chapters and offers
directions for further research in the area of translation.
The most disappointing part of the book is the first chapter, contributed
by the authors themselves. They refer to a few scholars in the area of
World Englishes (e.g. Phillipson 1992, Crystal, 1997, Phillipson and
Skutnabb-Kangas 1999), but omit references to other major scholars who
might offer opposing viewpoints, e.g. Kachru (1982, 1992) and Pennycook
(1994), and references to other recent works on the influence of English
on other languages, e.g. Gramley (2001); Allerton, Skandera, and
Tschichold (2002); and Maurais and Morris (2003). Likewise, the authors
raise the questions of whether an English language learner can become a
'native speaker' and what exactly is meant by the term 'native speaker'
(14) without referring to Paikeday's (1985) discussion of this linguistic
In all, this book may be of interest to scholars and practitioners in
translation studies as it does raise significant concerns about the
practice of translating in and out of English. World Englishes scholars,
on the other hand, may find some of the discussions and examples presented
throughout the book cursory and trivial.
Allerton, D.J., Paul Skandera, and Cornelia Tschichold, eds. Perspectives
on English as a world language. Verlag: Schwabe & Co. Ag.
Crystal, David. 1997. English as a global language. Cambridge: Cambridge
Gramley, Stephan. 2001. The vocabulary of world English. London: Arnold.
Kachru, Braj B. 1982. The other tongue: English across cultures. Urbana:
University of Illinois Press.
_____. 1992. The other tongue: English across cultures, 2nd edition.
Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Maurais, Jacques, and Michael A. Morris, eds. 2003. Languages in a
globalising world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Paikeday, Thomas M. 1985. The native speaker is dead! An informal
discussion of a linguistic myth with Noam Chomsky and other linguists,
philosophers, psychologists, and lexicographers. Toronto: Paikeday
Pennycook, Alastair. 1994. The cultural politics of English as an
international language. London: Longman.
Phillipson, Robert. 1992. Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford
Phillipson, Robert, and Tove Skutnabb-Kangas. 1999. Englishisation: One
dimension of globalization. English in a changing world, AILA Review 13,
ed. by David Graddol and U. Meinhof. Oxford: English Book Centre, 19-36.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Richard W. Hallett is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at
Illinois University in Chicago. His research areas include World Englishes
(particularly the mediation of ideology in English language teaching
materials) and the discourse of tourism.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER Richard W. Hallett is an Associate Professor of
Linguistics at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. His research
areas include World Englishes (particularly the mediation of ideology in
English language teaching materials) and the discourse of tourism.
N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.
More information about the Lgpolicy-list