The massive increase in migration flows through the Afro-Mediterranean routes during the last decades have shaped previously homogeneous populations into linguistically and culturally diverse ethnoscapes. On this background, migration has strongly contributed to the acquisition and the use of English as a first, second and foreign language and to the burgeoning of new Englishes all over the world (Crystal, 1997; Trudgill et al, 2002; Jenkins, 2003) thus problematizing our traditional knowledge of language as a social projection of territorial unity held together by shared behavioral norms, beliefs and values.
Specifically, taking into account the communicative and translation processes in which 12 interviewed volunteer interpreters, translators and cultural mediators have been engaged during their interaction with newly-arrived migrants in Southern Italy, this paper addresses three main research issues concerning: a) the use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in the volunteers’s practice of language and cultural mediation and the extent to which this language may be perceived either as a barrier or as a bridge, thus affecting the relationship between the mediator and the migrant and the shaping of a politics of hospitality in the Mediterranean; b) the different linguistic and extra-linguistic strategies which volunteers, translators and cultural mediators can adopt in the state of migration emergency not only to serve communicative purposes, but also to humanize the migrants’ transfer to, and internment at, the different camps across Italy; c) the interviewed language mediators’ narratives as a testimony of negotiation, activism and resistance to the strict institutionalized protocols of the Italian immigration policies.
Finally, in this work we also intend to investigate the extent to which the interviewed translators and cultural mediators form not a mere aggregation of individuals achieving the task of translation as a mere linguistic transfer, but a ‘living’ network held together by a conscious and critical sense of the performative power of their words and their mediation conceived as a way to create meanings which form and transform human reality.
 Abstract di articolo di pubblicazione per il volume a cura di M.G.Guido, La mediazione linguistica interculturale in materia di immigrazione e asilo, Lingue e Linguaggi 11 (2015), ISSN 2239-0367, e-ISSN 2239-0359, http://siba-ese.unisalento.it, © 2015 Università del Salento, Lecce, pp.73-89.
Abstract. This study intertwines with a research area in cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse analysis which investigates the representation of migrants in the UK and Italian press (Baker 2007; Baker et al. 2008; Baker/ Gabrielatos/McEnery 2013; Morley/Taylor 2012; Rasinger 2010; Taylor 2009, 2014) and with PICUM (Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants) initiative launched in June 2014 which promotes accurate and human terminology with reference to migrants. The abovementioned literature shows that press from countries that most pride themselves on their commitment to equality, human rights, and democracy (like the western European countries) are precisely those that, in the late twentieth century, invented a new status (‘illegal’) in order to deprive some of their residents of access to equality, human rights, and democracy. On the other hand, PICUM initiative encourages accurate, humane terminology and strictly avoids using the term ‘illegal migrant’. This study further investigates this terminological issue analyzing different blogs concerned with migration in the Mediterranean Sea (e.g. Fortress Europe and The charter of Lampedusa in Italian and English) as examples of good terminological practice since they cross language boundaries and migrate in different countries and cultures within the Mediterranean Sea, being always alert to inbuilt prejudice in the language used to describe ethnic minorities. The discourse about migration taken from the web can be considered as a major resource to support the promotion of accurate and human terminology, site of cosmo-political encounter, connectivity and conviviality where subjectivities are recognized, respected and re-humanized, act of linguistic knocking down of the walls of exclusion/inclusion that order and govern migration, and as an attitude of (r)esistence against the hegemonic discourse of politics and media that has always been re-proposing year after year the same categories of fear and welfarism, in order to at long last satisfy everybody’s desire to freely move and see new countries and meet new people (paper presented at the workshop “Media Discourse(s): Adaptation, Resilience and Mobility in the Context of Climate-induced Migration”, University of Naples L’Orientale, 9-10 April 2015)