Facing the World’s New Challenges. The Role of T & I in Providing Integrated Efficient and Sustainable Solutions
Edited By Martin Forstner, Nikolai K. Garbovskiy and Hannelore Lee-Jahnke
A special section of this book is dedicated to training and research issues, which have to handle the difficult task of preparing students for the globalized and changing market on the one hand, and showing research directions permitting new approaches to highly sustainable training methods and curriculum development. On the other hand, the delicate question is raised whether multilingualism in language training is a drawback for translation didacts.
This book contains contributions in English, French and German.
Iceland’s Challenges in a Multilingual Europe: Gauti Kristmannsson
A well known anecdote in Iceland (but nowhere else) tells of Grímur Thomsen, an Icelandic poet and diplomat working for the Danish Foreign Service in the nineteenth century. He was seated during a dinner beside a Belgian diplomat. As often happens, the latter asked courteously what language was spoken up there on the remote island. Grímur Thomsen answered, not without pride, that it was Icelandic, the ancient language of the Eddas and Sagas. “Yes, of course,” said the Belgian diplomat, “the educated people speak that, but what language does the mob speak?” “The mob,” Mr. Thomsen said, “speaks of course Belgian.”1
If this retort was ever given, it can be seen as a little unfair, but it also shows in a nutshell both the pride and inferiority complex of small nations and small languages and at the same time the different challenges they face. The Belgian state, one of the older nation states of Europe, was recently on the verge of a rift along linguistic borders whereas Iceland, formerly a Danish colony, gained independence in the twentieth century and one of the cornerstones of its identity is indeed the language of the Eddas and Sagas. This heritage or “cultural capital” in Bourdieu’s term actually became very handy for many other budding nations in Europe from the seventeenth century onwards. The Scandinavian countries, the British and the Germans, for example, appropriated parts of this heritage for their own constructions of national identity, albeit in translation, of...
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