Book review
Vicente L. Rafael. Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation
268 pp.Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014.

Reviewed by Marianna Deganutti
Table of contents

Vicente Rafael’s latest work, Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation, brings an innovative perspective to the field of translation studies. As a historian, Rafael explores translation through relations of power, such as imperialism, wars of independence, revolts and protests, in the Philippines and the U.S. In particular, he focuses on the Philippine revolution against Spain, the U.S. occupation of the country in the early twentieth century, the periods of transitions between these occupations, and the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The wide spectrum of contexts studied (from the school system to technology and literature) leads him to examine in detail the link between history and languages. Translation, which lies at the core of this relationship, is considered an open conflict practice at the intersection of political and linguistic clashes.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.


Alvarez, Roman, and M. Carmen-Africa Vidal
eds. 1996Translation, Power, Subversion. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Baker, Mona
2006Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account. London: Routledge. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Greenberg, Robert
2004Language and Identity in the Balkans. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Newmark, Peter
1991About Translation. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar