Colonial language and postcolonial linguistic hybridity
This dissertation project applies community-specific linguistic studies to various postcolonial text;s, thereby offering readers an alternative way of analyzing the patterns of language usage in postcolonial literature. I use linguistic studies to help treat these communities not as they were—long-time colonies of the British Empire—but rather as they are now: multilingual societies that serve as gateways into complex webs of identity construction and language usage. In this vein, I approach postcolonial literature in relation to: (1) how the text;s use language to either include or exclude others; (2) how the characters interpret and respond to the mix of original and new languages; (3) how language usage either deters from or solidifies the sense of belonging together on the part of colonial natives; and (4) how language functions as a force in each text; considered. The particular linguistic studies I use have not generally been applied to literature, but I show that these theories can be mapped onto literary text;s in very compelling ways. Because language is constructed differently in different regions, it only makes sense that linguistic identity has to be studied within specific societies; Africa’s multilingualism, for example, has often been described as on par with European multilingualism, yet this is theoretically misleading because whereas European multilingualism involves several written languages, the African context; involves only a few written languages (such as Yoruba and Gikuyu) existing alongside oral languages founded on oral cultures and transmitted orally. Given, then, that this dissertation examines literary text;s through the lens of local language, its findings are useful in that they reveal widely disparate modes of colonial resistance that tend to challenge more traditional postcolonial readings and interpretations.
University of Utah;
Hybridity; Language change; Language crossing; Linguabridity, Linguistics; Postcolonial literature