Chapter

Encounters with the Mother Tongue: Speech, Translation, and Interlocution in Post—Cold War German Repatriation

Stefan Senders

in Being There

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257757
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943438 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257757.003.0007
Encounters with the Mother Tongue: Speech, Translation, and Interlocution in Post—Cold War German Repatriation

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In the context of repatriation, the ability to speak German is one of the principal signs of German identity and integration. Language competence, because it is seen as a prerequisite for entry into the German economy, is viewed as a key to Aussiedler integration. This chapter explores the role of speech, translation, and interlocution in the context of post cold war German repatriation. In addition, it inquires into what knowledge of these issues might be produced, uniquely, by fieldwork encounters. The concept and history of Muttersprache, for example, appears to be ideally suited to library research. The question is, what supplement could be added by fieldwork. In this regard, it argues that the encounter brings the concept into a new epistemological arena, that of risk, a move that offers new insights available only through encounter-based inquiry.

Keywords: repatriation; German; speech; translation; interlocution; encounter

Chapter.  6668 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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