Book reviewMotherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation 268 pp.Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014. .
Reviewed by Marianna Deganutti
University of Bath
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.