Book reviewMissionary linguistics V / Lingüística Misionera V: Translation theories and practices (Studies in the History of the Language Sciences 122). Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2014. Xii, 350 pp.
Reviewed by Kobus Marais and Caroline Mangerel
University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
The book under review comprises ten articles, originating from the 7th Conference on Missionary Linguistics held at the University of Bremen in 2012. In the introduction, the editors sketch the field of interest by first arguing that, in the context of missionary linguistics, their interest lies with the “cognitive appropriation of the indigenous languages and cultures and the practical aim to colonize or, at least, influence the culture of the (indigenous) ‘other’” (viii). The interest of the volume is further described as “interlinguistic perception, i.e. the perception of one language through the vision of another” (ibid.). In this perspective, the documentation, study, codification and linguistic structuring that took place when missionaries worked in foreign contexts entail translation. This claim with wide-ranging implications is, unfortunately, not theorised further in the introduction or in the individual chapters. The editors also point out that they are not only interested in Bible translation but in the wider linguistic work of missionaries, including bilingual ethnographies, catechisms and lexicons. The collection of essays is divided into two groups, namely New Spain and Asia.