'Speak my language': current attitudes to television subtitling and dubbing



Kilborn R (1993) 'Speak my language': current attitudes to television subtitling and dubbing. Media, Culture and Society, 15 (4), pp. 641-660.

First paragraph: Language has always played a key role in the way we understand ourselves and our society. For this reason it is no surprise that issues relating to language should often have prompted such fierce controversy. Part of the explanation for our linguistic sensitivity is that language is closely bound up with our sense of belonging to a particular group or nation. Any attempt to control the ways in which we use our native tongue can therefore be viewed as an attack upon our personal or national identity and we respond accordingly. It follows that language is not just a vehicle which allows communication between individuals and nations to take place, it can also be regarded as an instrument of social control; witness the many instances in history where imperialist aspirations - whether military or economic - have gone hand in hand with the imposition of one language at the expense of another. By suppressing a nation's indigenous tongue, the calculation has been that one could gradually stamp out any residual national resistance and encourage compliance. In the eighteenth century in Scotland, for instance, speaking - or singing - in the Gaelic language was expressly forbidden, while in this century, in Franco's Spain, the Catalan language was likewise rigorously suppressed.

Media, Culture and Society: Volume 15, Issue 4

Publication date31/10/1993

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Professor Richard Kilborn

Professor Richard Kilborn

Honorary Professor, Communications, Media and Culture