In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Promouvoir les pratiques plurilingues et collaboratives chez les comparatistes émergent.e.s:A Colingual Intervention
  • Jeanne Mathieu-Lessard and Fan Wu1

L'interaction entre langues dans le récent Isle of Dogs (L'île aux chiens) de Wes Anderson a généré à la fois une grande curiosité et un certain malaise. L'un des rares films américains à succès à comporter des dialogues dans une langue autre que l'anglais sans en offrir de traduction, Isle of Dogs combine diverses façons de joindre-et de disjoindre-les langues. Comme l'explique Anderson, le film est « fou de traduction » :

The movie isn't just in English or Japanese, it's translation crazy. It has every different possible way of translating. I like keeping both languages alive. Obviously, in different countries English will be erased. The Japanese stays everywhere that people will see the movie but the English will be replaced with French, Italian, etc. […] I wanted language to play a role without it becoming an obstacle. You can simply subtitle it but instead we tried all kinds of different words and also let the Japanese speak for itself. You don't necessarily know what people are saying a certain amount of the time, but you sort of get it.

(Anderson, qtd. in Monks Kaufman; emphasis mine)

En s'en tenant uniquement au discours du maire Kobayashi et à l'intervention du professeur Watanabe en ouverture du film (0:04:14-0:07:09), l'interaction entre le [End Page 488] japonais et l'anglais prend plus d'une demi-douzaine de formes. Le japonais oral est traduit par une narration en voix off ou par des sous-titres en anglais qui se déploient sur un écran numérique; les noms des personnages sont écrits en japonais et soustitrés en anglais; et l'interprète Nelson (« Official Interpreter Nelson ») fournit une interprétation simultanée du discours de Watanabe. Le monde matériel qui entoure les personnages est lui aussi colingue2 : les documents projetés sur l'écran situé à l'arrière de la plateforme d'où parlent Kobayashi et Watanabe font cohabiter japonais et anglais, ce qui est aussi le cas des écrits présents sur la cage de Spots, d'ailleurs entourée de détritus dont font partie des journaux en japonais.

In a movie meant primarily for a Western audience, Anderson's aesthetic and linguistic choices entail both a romanticization of Japanese culture and language, and a creative take on plurilingualism that can lead us to reconsider the default monolingualism of most contemporary works of art. Since, as Suzanne Romaine and Catherine Leclerc point out, "bilingual speakers, whom we often imagine to be at the margin of linguistic groups, actually constitute the majority of the world population" [« Les locuteurs bilingues qu'on imagine à la périphérie des groupes linguistiques forment en fait la majorité de la population mondiale »] (Leclerc 21),3 it is puzzling to see how small a proportion plurilingual works are to monolingual ones, and how little critical consideration those works have been given. Comparatist scholars have been advocating for a better understanding and a wider promotion of plurilingual works, from works enabling hybridization between languages (see Damrosch) to colingual texts (see Leclerc). And yet, considerations about the languages of the texts we study do not currently lead to many changes in our use of languages in our practice as researchers.4 Watching Isle of Dogs play with languages reopened a series of concerns that have been at the core of my experience of Comparative Literature as an early career scholar in Canada. Our field is rooted in plurilingualism, and for most of us, the question of language is central to our research projects and to our daily practice, while also being a crucial personal concern in making larger career and life choices. The language(s) in which we will decide to teach, communicate, publish, and live, will have a major impact on all facets of our lives as comparatists.

In the Canadian context, questions about plurilingualism in Comparative Literature intersect with concerns about French-English bilingualism in our practice and in our institutions.5 In a climate where there...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1913-9659
Print ISSN
0319-051X
Pages
pp. 488-502
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-24
Open Access
No
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