Lost in Translation: Disorienting Research Dilemmas in a Multilingual Country

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Pamphilon analyses how a series of field events in multilingual Papua New Guinea challenged her notions of research for development ‘good practice’. She reflects on what appeared to be simple research challenges—the baseline study languages, the trilingual workshops process, the analysis of the multilingual qualitative data, and the use of English loanwords—and explores how the words and concepts of participants cannot be instrumentally interpreted or translated as they are individually, socially and culturally located. She shows how those who lead research and/or development also bring their own individual, social, and cultural lens to their engagement and analysis. Drawing on Freire’s ‘problem-posing’ approach, Pamphilon concludes that democratic dialogue and a dialectic learning exchange can enable community development that is transformative for all.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguages, Linguistics and Development Practices
EditorsDeborah Hill, Felix K. Ameka
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783030935221
ISBN (Print)9783030935214
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2022


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