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The role of interpreters in the conquest and acculturation of the Canary Archipelago

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From the mid-fourteenth century to the end of the fifteenth, the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula used the Canary Archipelago as a testing ground for their later conquests and colonization in the Americas. Numerous interpreters, among them many women, enabled communication between Europeans, indigenous islanders, and groups on the North African coast. The paper describes the linguistic context of their work and how it related to the successive stages of conquest and acculturation. Attempts are made to identify the interpreters, to explain how they learned their languages, to analyze the situations in which they participated and to assess the philosophical precepts that may initially have guided their training. These factors are used to group the interpreters into various categories.
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Keywords: Canary Islands; colonization; indigenous languages; linguistic-cultural mediation; missionaries

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting
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