Multilingualism in Latin America

Mehrsprachigkeit in Lateinamerika

I consider multilingualism not only from a historical perspective but also as a paradigm of contemporary Latin American literatures. In addition to the use of different languages in the Latin American avant-gardes, often exemplified by figures like the Brazilian modernist Oswald de Andrade or the Ecuadorian surrealist Alfredo Gangotena, who chose French as the language of their artistic expression, I am interested in multilingualism as a mode of theory.

Together with my colleague Elena von Ohlen, I have chaired a panel (Asosiación Alemana de Hispanistas, Graz 2023), which examined the dialogue between Spanish with indigenous languages. This dialogue is inherently engaged due to its translingual nature, as evidenced in the works of Chicano authors like Francisco X. Alarcón or indigenous Chilean writers like Elicura Chihuailaf and Jaime Luis Huenún. Currently, Elena von Ohlen have also submitted a dossier commemorating the 35th anniversary of the publication of Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera. The New Mestiza, which, notably, became a manifesto of multilingual writing (English-Chicano-Spanish-Nahuatl), in part due to its unique form.