Tuesday, October 4, 2016

School Language Brokering



The arrival of the latest bulletin from Young Interpreters (see References [1]) is a reminder of the extent and vitality of language brokering (LB). It has news about culture brokering as well as language brokering.

It's in the nature of organising knowledge that as a field of study matures it sprouts subfields. This has happened abundantly in interpreting studies. Whereas 50 years ago it was rare to see more than the two terms interpreting and translating, today we recognise all the many subfields that were categorised in my paper All of Interpreting.[2] And now LB is a field where we can see it happening. In the beginning, some 20 years ago, for instance in the writings of Lucy Tse,[3] there was just LB. (I never liked the term, because brokering suggests negotiation and even a commercial activity, and LB is neither. Its competitor language mediation is not objectionable in this way. But LB, with 24,000 English Google mentions, is here to stay.)

Originally LB was conceived of as a behaviour of children in immigrant families in the USA, especially Hispanic families, who served as intermediaries with English speakers and with Anglophone communities. Then it was observed that there were also adolescents and even adults performing this function, so the children were distinguished by the term child language brokers (CLB), which is widely used today. So how about the older LB people? There should be a specific term for them too: adolescent and adult language brokers (ALB), but it hasn't emerged yet.

Then LB/CLB studies crossed the Atlantic and were brought to the UK by Nigel Hall of Manchester Metropolitan University, according to Rachele Antonini, the Italian pioneer of non-professional translation studies. (See the lively interview with her on YouTube and see also the recent post on this blog about child cultural brokers.)[4] On the eastern side of the pond, however, there has been more interest in LB in rhe school environment for communication between students and between students and staff or parents. The Young Interpreters movement is a prime example. There it has flourished enough to warrant another neologism: school language brokering (SLB).

Are there others? One which merits a term of its own is LB in the prison environment, a clear variant of ALB. Its prevalence has been shown in the studies by Aida Martínez Gómez and Linda Rossato [enter prison in the Search box on the right].

Meanwhile we still need unqualified LB as a cover term for CLB, ALB and all the other subtypes present and future. For there will surely be more. For instancw I'm waiting for studies of migrant language brokering or refugee language brokering.

References
[1] Astrid Dinneen (ed.) Young Interpreters Newsletter. Issue 25. Basingstoke: Hampshire EMTAS, September 2016. Click [here] or go to https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/eal-bilingual/BOlTDfibw38.

[2] Brian Harris. All of Interpreting: a Taxonomic Survey. Click [here] or go to https://independent.academia.edu/BHARRIS.

[3] Lucy Tse (University of Southern California). Language brokering among Latino adolescents: prevalence, attitudes, and school performance. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 180-193, 1995. For an abstract of this influential article, click [here] or go to http://hjb.sagepub.com/content/17/2/180.abstract.

[4] Rachele Antonini. Child Language Brokering. YouTube, 2015. click [here] or go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye6ik8IOTlo.

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