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Warp speed in language classes

Sat, Jul 10, 15:00-15:30 Asia/Tokyo Room 1

In interpreter and translator training, great emphasis is placed on the concepts of general untranslatability, linguistic relativity and dynamic equivalence. Even between closely related languages like German and English, there are formidable cultural barriers professionals must overcome. For example, an everyday word like “bread”, can mean something very different across languages and cultures. Untranslatability, is magnified between linguistically distant languages such as English and Japanese or German and Japanese. Most Japanese students naively believe that there are one-on-one equivalents in English for all Japanese words. Consequently, they are confused to find quite a few Japanese “meanings” for one English word in their dictionaries. This presentation seeks to highlight examples of untranslatability and linguistic relativity as they occur in elementary German classes taught at university level, and to show how language learning can enable students to experience and enjoy cultural diversity or the “warp” between cultures.