Speaking Spanglish

Ilan StavansIlan Stavans, considered one of the most influential figures in Latino literature in the United States, will give the John M. Turner Lecture in the Humanities at Lynchburg College at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in Hopwood Auditorium.

Dr. Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, will discuss “Spanglish: The New American Language.”

An internationally known, award-winning cultural critic, linguist, translator, public speaker, editor, short-story writer, and TV host, Dr. Stavans focuses on language, identity, politics, and history.

In 2003, he published Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language, which includes a lexicon of approximately 6,000 terms and a Spanglish translation of the first chapter of Don Quixote. He is completing a translation of the entire novel by Miguel de Cervantes.

His essays are published in periodicals such as TheWashington Post, El País, Le Monde, TheChronicle of Higher Education, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Forward, the Times Literary Supplement, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Nation, and The New Republic.

Born in Mexico in 1961 into a Jewish family with roots in Eastern Europe, he was raised in a multilingual environment. His autobiography, On Borrowed Words, appeared in 2001, followed four years later by Dictionary Days. He is best known for his research on Yiddish, Ladino, and, in particular, Spanglish.

Dr. Stavans is currently finishing a meditation on the Hebrew alphabet, a book on love, and a biography of Gabriel García Márquez. His work has been translated into a dozen languages.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships, and other honors, including an Emmy nomination, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Jewish Book Award, the Latino Hall of Fame Award, Chile’s Presidential Medal, and several grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The John M. Turner Lecture in the Humanities was established in 1992 by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and contributions from alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Lynchburg College. The John M. Turner Distinguished Chair in the Humanities and the Turner Lecture were named in honor of Dr. John Mills Turner ’29, English professor, dean of the College, vice president for academic affairs, and one of the most beloved and respected members of the Lynchburg College community for forty-one years (1933-74).