Breaking down barriers

Barriers, like promises and piecrust, are made to be broken. Or broken down, rather. Translators, like teachers, are great breakers-down of barriers, though, like them, they are almost always
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Barriers, like promises and piecrust, are made to be broken. Or broken down, rather. Translators, like teachers, are great breakers-down of barriers, though, like them, they are almost always undervalued. This autumn our minds and our media are full of images of razor-wire fences as refugees, fleeing war zones, try to cross borders legally or illegally in search of a safe haven. The UK, made by immigration and with a long and honourable tradition of giving asylum, is nonetheless often suspicious of the Foreign; and at present, looking out on an almost apocalyptic displacement of peoples, is more inclined to erect barriers than to break them down. It may not be far-fetched to associate this present aversion with our characteristic unwillingness to cross the language barrier and enrich our own literature with writing from other countries and cultures; though again, through a thousand years runs a counter-tradition of welcoming in and benefiting from foreign tongues. The near-hegemony of. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Linguistics

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