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National Identity in Translation

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Edited By Lucyna Harmon and Dorota Osuchowska

Language as an essential and constitutive part of national identity is what obviously gets lost in translation, being substituted by the language of another nation. For this reason, one could perceive national identity and translation as contradictory and proclaim a total untranslatability of the former. However, such a simplified conclusion would clearly deny the actual translation practice, where countless successful attempts to preserve the element of national identity can be testified. The authors of the book focus on the possibilities of various approaches to national identity as a research subject within Translation Studies. The authors hope that the variety of topics presented in this book will inspire further research.

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Silesian in Translation

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Abstract: This paper focuses on the present state of the debate on Silesian, spoken in south-western part of Poland, which, after 1989, entered public life, schools, the internet and other social media. Sociolinguistic criteria may be helpful in determining whether Silesian is a dialect or a language, but the final decisions in the debate will be arbitrary. Language attitudes are reflected in the results of a study on Silesian language and identity, conducted among young students. Polish-Silesian translations show still another aspect of the debate on Silesian identity. Some claim that an interpreter in Polish-Silesian contacts is not necessary. However, there are some aspects about interpersonal SZL-PL communication that make mutual comprehension difficult. As for written discourse, texts are usually translated for practical and aesthetic purposes; Silesian entered fields where translation was not welcome, e.g. first translations of The Bible caused a lot of controversy. The paper ends with the conclusion that we are fortunate to witness a fascinating process of the emerging of Silesian as a language. Translation is definitely an important part of the process.

Keywords: Silesian, dialect, language, identity, translation

1 Silesian

Silesian, a minority language, is spoken in south-western part of Poland (but also in the northern regions of the Czech Republic) by circa 56 000 users. The debate on its status has been conducted for the past 30 years at least, but it has not brought any definite conclusions so far. To some Silesian is a distinct...

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