Challenges and Solutions
The strength of the volume lies in the wide range of languages discussed, from Arabic to Turkish and from Italian to Catalan, as well as in its variety of complementary and contrastive methodologies. The contributions reveal the importance of exploring further issues in translating local voices. Discussing dialects and marginal voices in translation, the contributors encourage and challenge the reader to reflect on what is standard and non-standard, acceptable and unacceptable, thereby overturning accepted principles and challenging familiar practices.
ESTHER MORILLAS - 5 When dialect is a protagonist too: Erri de Luca’s Montedidio in Spanish 89
ESTHER MORILLAS 5 When dialect is a protagonist too: Erri de Luca’s Montedidio in Spanish Montedidio is the name of a district of Naples that Erri de Luca, in his novel named after the area, presents to us through the eyes of the protagonist, a Neapolitan boy who is on the verge of passing from childhood to maturity. On a roll of paper that Don Liborio the printer has given him, the boy writes down his everyday experiences, using the Italian he has learned at school and in the books that he reads. We hear, through his writing, the voices of Mast’Errico, the teacher in the carpentry workshop where the protagonist works; of Rafaniello, a Jew who speaks Yiddish and who works in the same place, but as a shoemaker; of Maria, the boy’s neighbour, and later his girl- friend; of the boy’s parents; and of other people in the district. The boy writes in Italian, despite being a dialect speaker, because he finds this language softer, ‘calmer’ than the Neapolitan dialect. From the beginning of the novel, the characterization of Italian compared with Neapolitan is clear: Italian is a silent language learnt in books, whereas Neapolitan is the noisy tongue that the residents of Montedidio use to communicate between themselves; Italian is written and Neapolitan is spoken. Neapolitan is defined as f luid, lively and alert like the protagonist’s good eye; his other eye, the slower one that can barely see, is the Italian eye (p. 14). Structured in...
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