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Two Languages in One (ACLA; Vancouver 31 Mar-3 Apr 2011; Nov 10 abstract
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American Comparative Literature Association
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Two Languages in One
Pidgins, Creoles, Nation Language, Forced Poetics. These are all terms that identify a language that is and is not the same as the language upon which it is based. This is quite obvious in some cases, less obvious in others. As previously colonized countries and peoples have gained relative independence, they usually remain bound to the imperial language of their oppressors. Over the years these speakers have stretched this language, tested its limits, and made it something other than itself. English that is not English, as Kamau Brathwaite described Nation Language. A language characterized by “forced poetics” as Édouard Glissant put it. In recent decades, oral “other languages” are often written and published in their own orthography and grammar, and increasingly, without glosses. There is also literature that is less obviously “forced,” that does not even seem like “dialect,” but the language stretches in other ways, in its semantic and syntactic structures. This seminar seeks papers that explore literary texts written in two languages that seem to be part of “one” language. Examples include, but are not limited to various Creoles, Pidgins, distinctive dialects. Examples also include texts that appear to be written in the “standardized” version of a language but that in some way resist its literary, rhetorical or structural conventions.
Papers from all historical periods are welcome and encouraged.
Literary texts may be written in any language but papers should be written and delivered in English. This seminar will require short responses from participants in order to promote lively and interactive discussions.