Editor’s Note

The Capilano Review’s Fall 2020 Translingual Issue reads like English but not quite English. “English English?” ask Vistan and Ferrari, pointing to how a phrase might contain two or more Englishes, or another language entirely. As well, as Sophie Seita and Klara du Plessis discuss, “there are sometimes invisible ways in which other languages (cultures, histories, practices) can be present in a text without easily identifiable external markers.” The translingual may be a survival strategy, a coping mechanism, an ethic. It may be an opportunity to “stage confrontations between languages”[1] or to consider how verbal resources interact “to generate new grammars and meanings, beyond their separate structures.”[2]

“There is something unbearable about language,” writes Fan Wu, and “especially unbearable about English.” The contributions here take aim at monolingualism’s constraints, puncturing holes and bringing forth the body of language in all of its spillages and gaps. Questions of legibility—the intolerable duality of being “alienated within language’s house” (Nicole Razia Fong)—are not resolved here. Rather, these works consider how one might read, incorporate, or intervene upon the English tradition, its imperial and foundational “source” texts.


This introductory note is excerpted from Issue 3.42: Translingual (Fall 2020). Purchase a print or digital copy of the issue here.


[1] Sarah Dowling, Translingual Poetics: Writing Personhood Under Settler Colonialism (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2018): 5.

[2] Suresh Canagarajah, “Translingual Practice: Translingual Practice as Spatial Repertoires: Expanding the Paradigm beyond Structuralist Orientations,” Applied Linguistics 39, no. 1 (2018): 31.



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