Migration, hip hop and translation zones in Delhi

Singh, Jaspal (2021). Migration, hip hop and translation zones in Delhi. In: Lee, Tong King ed. The Routledge Handbook of Translation and the City. London: Routledge, pp. 308–325.

Abstract

Delhi’s rapid economic and spatial growth in the last three decades was predominantly propelled by large-scale domestic and international in-migration, leading to linguistic superdiversity and new language ideological formations. In the last decade, some of the migrants’ children turned towards the artistic and cultural forms of hip-hop to create a voice for themselves and their friends in the emergent global digital circuits and on the streets of Delhi, and circulated their voices across languages. This chapter traces encounters between the ethnographer’s and some of his participants’ translation practices, their acute awareness of multilingual repertoires and their linguistic ideologies developed in their migratory lives. The chapter adopts the notion of translation zones not only to describe the participants’ translation practices in interaction, but also to investigate their acute multilingual awareness. It presents and analyzes the participants’ narratives about what meanings their multilingual and cross-linguistic practices have for their own lives, their biographies of migration and their aspirations in global hip-hop. An analysis of translation zones, as argued in the chapter, can help us better understand some of the ambiguous multilingual realities and complex linguistic ideologies brought about by historical and recent flows of migration in Delhi.

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