PUBlic Professor Series | Dr. Alain Takam


Join modern languages and linguistics professor, Dr. Alain Takam, as he explores

Translating in a context of official bilingualism: idiomaticity or interference?

Thursday, November 25, 2021 - 7:00 p.m.

Event Location: Live online broadcast

COVID-19 has impacted the way we do everything, including the delivery of our events. The safety of our speakers and guests in attendance is of the utmost importance to us, and for that reason, this talk will be delivered ONLINE via a LIVE BROADCAST. Please register for this event at Registration is required as we need to provide you with secure access information to the live broadcast prior to the start of the event. Please watch your email. **All who register and attend this event will be entered to win a $100 gift card to the Italian Table.**

Most teachers and educators, translators and interpreters look at interference as a serious language mistake. Translators and educators, in particular, are normally enjoined to guard against such misuses that threaten the integrity of a specific language and its culture. This prescriptive point of view, which stems from de Saussure’s structural approach to language, does not seem to be tenable in a situation of social and official bilingualism. The objective of this presentation is to show that interference, as criticized as it might be from the prescriptivist and normative point of view, can be a good solution to translation and communication when one takes into account, not just the linguistic competence of a translator, but also his or her sociolinguistic and especially communicative competence in a situation of official or State bilingualism. Canada and Cameroon, the two countries that apply the official policy of English and French bilingualism, will provide ample illustrations during this presentation.

Alain Flaubert Takam, a former Killam Scholar from Dalhousie University, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, University of Lethbridge where he teaches French and Linguistics. His current research focuses on language in education planning (acquisition planning), that is, language planning as it relates to the teaching and learning of minority languages in a bilingual or multilingual context. He also carries out research in the fields of endangered language revitalization, contact linguistics, language variation, the sociolinguistics of translation and socio-pragmatics. His most recent publications include:

  • (2020) The Influence of (post-)colonial language policies on local Cameroon languages: an acquisition planning perspective.” The Journal of African Policy Studies, 31 – 67;
  • (2020) (With Steven Gillis) « Ça n’a rien à voir ni avec ma vie ni avec mon avenir, donc pourquoi continuer ? » Explorer les raisons auto-déclarées du peu d’engouement au FLS dans des écoles secondaires en Alberta. Linguistica Atlantica 38(1), 1–22;
  • (2020) (With Innocent Fassé) English and French Bilingual Education and language policy in Cameroon: the bottom-up approach or the policy of no policy? Language Policy (LPOL) Journal 19(1);
  • (2019) Revitalisation of minority languages through the media: The Cameroon experience. In Kamtchueng, L., Tabe, C. & Nkemleke, D. (eds.), Language, Media and Technologies: Usages, Forms and Functions (pp. 6-41). Munich: LINCOM;
  • (2018) (With Innocent Fassé). Language policy in education: second official language in (technical) education in Canada and Cameroon. Journal of Education and Learning 7(4), 20–31;
  • (2017) Revitalisation des langues minoritaires par les médias : étude de quelques stratégies de promotion des langues autochtones au Canada. Linguistica Atlantica 36 (2), 111–139.;
  • (2016) Système de l’adresse et travail des faces au Cameroun : vers une stratégie d’évitement des anthroponymes. In Bernard Mulo Farenkia (ed.), Im/politesse et rituels interactionnels en contextes plurilingues et multiculturels (pp. 121–152). Frankfurt am Main : Peter Lang ;
  • (2016) Revitalisation of indigenous languages in the Canadian school system: An analysis of some strategies and approaches.” In A. Healey, R. Napoleão de Souza, P. Pešková & M. Allen (eds). Proceedings of the 11th High Desert Linguistics Society (HDLS 11) Conference 11, (pp. 346–372). Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

In the spirit of the PUBlic Professor Series, we encourage you to prepare appetizers and pour yourself a beverage of choice. Better yet, if you are missing the catering as much as we are, you can order online with the Italian Table and pick up some of your favourite dishes! Prime Catering, the Italian Table and the Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge have supported our Series for many years, and as such, we are committed to supporting them during the difficult times brought on by COVID-19. As such, we have purchased several gift cards from the Italian Table. These will be randomly awarded at the end of each talk. You can even use the gift cards to buy appetizers for our next talk in October!! You must be in attendance to win. So register today and mark this date in your calendar!