In an age of geographic discoveries and colonisation, easier communication, and international trade growing steadily from the mid-16th century, England gradually established itself as an Atlantic and global power, as a prelude to the formation of the British empire. English records of this era of expansion offer multiple examples of linguistic contacts with the wider world, with translations, lexical borrowings, and records of multilingual exchanges between travellers and the peoples they encountered.
These two online evening seminar sessions, jointly organised by TIDE (University of Oxford, ERC) and LARCA (University of Paris, CNRS), aim at exploring some of the practices and strategies underpinning polyglot encounters in travel accounts produced or read in England. Drawing on linguistic, lexicographic, literary and historical methodologies, we will look into some of the contexts and significances of these textual contact zones. Particular attention will be paid to uses of polyglossia in processes of identity construction, defining and promoting national or imperial agendas, appropriating and assimilating foreign linguistic capital, or meeting resistance and limits from linguistic and cultural others refusing to lend themselves to subaltern status.
This series features in the following public collections: