The Silent Languages of Alphonso Lingis, or Dangerous Translations

Dalia Staponkute (University of Cyprus)

Allusion to one of Alphonso Lingis’s works, Dangerous Emotions, in the title of this paper highlights the processes pertinent to language and translation in an era of globalization. Lingis´s philosophical travel writing reveals that travel in a world of diverse languages and cultures is fraught with difficulties and dangers in an era of globalization and a prevailing Anglophone communication.

This paper will explore the relation between travel, language and culture in Alphonso Lingis`s philosophical travel writing from the point of view of translation theory. The focus will be on the traveller as translating agent and intercultural mediator, as well as on the creative tension in the elaboration of culture and identity.

In his philosophical travel writing Lingis exiles himself from the rational language of philosophy.. Focusing on the insufficiency of language in the transmission of meanings, Lingis expresses a critique of rational translation and points to spontaneity in translation as bodily performance—highlighting the importance of the remainder or surplus in translation by emphasizing ways of knowing that are channelled through taste, touch, vision, smell and (non-verbal) sound.

Lingis´s work also inspires the reader to envision wider problematic and specific/personal cases of translation in changing mother-tongues as cultural mother-child bonds, and the consequences of this  for language, culture and the human world at large.

Keyword: Staponkutė

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