Translingualism, Translation and Caribbean Poetry
Mother Tongue Has Crossed the Ocean
Amsterdam University Press
Linguists estimate that around 7,000 languages exist, but many are under threat. Translingualism, Translation and Caribbean Poetry is a multi-language collection comprising over fifty translations of the poem 'Lenga di mama' ('Mother Tongue') by Curaçao-born poet Hilda de Windt Ayoubi, published here alongside three additional poems each providing a different perspective on the mother tongue. De Windt Ayoubi's sharp, socially charged poetry has inspired translations from across the world. Collected here for the first time, they serve to protect the native languages and cultures – particularly the minority languages – of their translators, who range from expert linguists to speakers of underrepresented languages. In his accompanying essay, Pieter C. Muysken considers the role of translation in addressing the urgent cultural concern of language loss and revitalization where he discusses bilingual translations and mass translations. Complete with maps, language profiles, interviews with the translators, and the poet’s essay on Papiamento, this collection explores the emotional, cultural and intellectual importance of language conservation through poetry and translation.
Hilda de Windt Ayoubi was born and raised in Curaçao. She was a secondary school teacher and a lecturer at the University of Curaçao. She writes in Dutch, French, English, Papiamento and Spanish. Her works include several translations, and (language-related) poetry books, Gedicht, illustrated with her paintings (2018), and the bilingual book Geef me je Taal (2019). For her Papiamento translation of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (2014), she was awarded the Kahlil Gibran Chair at the University of Maryland. In 2019, she received UNESCO’s Certificate of Merit for her work on Papiamento.
Pieter C. Muysken († 2021) was born in Bolivia but grew up in the Netherlands. He was a Professor of Linguistics at the universities of Amsterdam, Leiden, Nijmegen, and Stellenbosch, South Africa. As the winner of the Bernhard Prize, Prix des Ambassadeurs, the Spinoza Prize, and many other awards, he is considered one of the greatest, most diverse linguists of the time. He has over 230 publications to his name and his life-long research on Ecuadorian Quechua culminated in the book El kichwa ecuatoriano: Orígenes, riqueza, contactos (2019).