Fisch Out of Water: Celebrating Accented Languages

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If you’re feeling a bit out of your element, you’re in the right place.  The event “Fisch Out of Water” was designed to celebrate the aesthetic uniqueness that your native tongue brings to your foreign language—quirks, trips of the tongue, and all. Germans reciting in Spanish, US Americans singing in Russian, Turks reading in French, all conspiring to enjoy and embrace the aesthetic experience of blending languages.

This concept has been traveling with Professor David Gramling of the German Studies Department at the University of Arizona— through Berlin, Germany, Ankara, Turkey and now Tucson. While working in Berlin, a hub of translation and translingual exchange, a fellow colleague of Professor Gramling came to the realization that translators and other “language workers,” often working with texts in silence, seldom had the opportunity to get together with friends and strangers to revel aloud in the aesthetics of their own foreign, accented voices. Together they formed a space for people of all backgrounds to gather and share their languages—in the broadest sense of the word. Soon language lovers ranging from 18-70 gathered in the back of cafes or other local spots to create a warm and spontaneous atmosphere, sharing anything under the sky in their non-native language(s): epic poems, parables, cabaret tunes, original translations, short stories, spoken-word pieces….

To date, the Fisch out of Water events hosted by the Deutscher Studentin Club here at the UofA have met with enthusiastic response, and Fisch is quickly taking on the local textures of the Old Pueblo. The word is getting out, and each event draws more and more curious combinations of linguistic practice—including dance, music, signing/ASL, visual art, and beyond. The DSC is dedicated to exploring this new frontier of language-in-use with the broader campus and local community, drawing on all of the various languages that are spoken here. The current goal is that, by the 40th Fisch Out of Water event, there will be enough participants to hold the event in Centennial Hall!

The following events have occured so far:

  • November 30, 2010 in the ILC
  • February 18, 2011 in the ILC
  • February 24th, 2011 at Casa Libre en la Solana (see photos)

If you are interested in participating in future events please contact the Deutscher Studenten Club or Prof. David Gramling.