Translanguaging and Sustainability

SAGA is a 5 year research project (2023-2028) to investigate and advance sutainability transitions across language and context. Find out more and meet the research team!

An environmental behaviour media campaign in Montreal uses neologisms to name and shame littering of different kinds. 

Sketch by artist Dionne Co of the rough lines of land language groups within the traditional, unceded and ancentral lands of what has lately been called the southwestern part of British Columbia.

Key SAGA Research Questions
  • How are key terms in sustainable cities expressed differently in different languages? How does language change the debate and application of sustainability ideas?
  • What are key non-English terms that can be brought to the task of understanding and advancing a sustainability transition, in different contexts?
  • What meanings and understandings from the work of translating between languages can assist in the task of sustainable development?

SAGA is a 5-year (2023-2028) project aiming to advance more-than-English language capacity as an overlooked means to embed diverse cultural values within more effective sustainability strategies.

For some, sustainable development is an international signifier of a greener, fairer world. For others, it is an empty signifier. The fact that English is the lingua franca of sustainable development discourse and policy is one barrier to the emergence of a cultural code of sustainability that is needed for a sustainability transition. Removing this barrier requires more than rough translation; it demands adequate interpretation, contextualization and connections to communities in place –a process of translanguaging.

With reflexive, observational and collaborative investigations in English, French, Finnish, Danish and Indigenous languages, in different urban contexts, the SAGA research team will investigate the translanguaging proceses that permit and inhibit the activation of sustainable cities in ways that hold cultural meaning. We aim to crack the lived coding of sustainable cities, as opposed to their global blueprints, but inquiring into the role of language in sustainability talk and sustainability interventions in monolingual, bilingual and multilingual contexts.

Research Opportunity

Interested in getting involoved as a reserach student?
See the call for applications for 2 funded PhD fellowships, based in REM.

See call for applications