Towards Decentering English
Practices and Challenges of a Multilingual Academic Journal
For a multilingual author, deciding in which language to publish an academic paper is a political choice. Not only is it linked to considerations such as career advancement and reaching the widest readership, it also touches on social and ideological questions, such as the preservation of languages, identities, cultures, and patterns of thinking and writing, in the face of English’s dominance as the “default academic language” (Bocanegra-Valle 2014). This paper presents an analysis of the language practices of E-JournALL, EuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Languages, a web-based, open access, and trilingual journal. Since the journal’s founding in 2014, its editorial team has striven to ensure representation of English, Italian, and Spanish in each of its issues. In this article, we reflect on four years of multilingual publishing, asking: 1) What does it mean to ensure representation in E-JournALL of each of its three languages; 2) How do the languages of E-JournALL’s authors—and their decisions about publication language—relate to the role played by English in global academic publishing?; and finally, 3) Four years and eight issues in, where does E-JournALL stand as a multilingual journal in an English-dominated academic world? In addition to offering our own reflections as editors, we present the results of analyses of E-JournALL’s publication data about authors’ native languages, the languages in which they published their papers, and the languages of the publications they cited, which show that despite our efforts, there remains a clear dominance of English. However, the data also suggest a changing, more diverse reality, and they form the basis for some suggestions for fostering multilingualism in academic journals.
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