Language and Ethnic Identity. Obasan , Double Happiness , Laiwan , M. Noubese Philip , & a Singaporean Example. Starting Questions: Language and Identity. Does being able to speak in English have anything to do with your sense of identity?
Obasan, Double Happiness,
Laiwan, M. Noubese Philip,
& a Singaporean Example
Two languages used/combined creatively broadened world views conflict, ambiguity, duality self-rejection or diffidence
Silence as a kind of language; Attentive Silence (e.g. Naomi’s family).
Ethnics-- Being Tongue-Tied or Many-Mouthed;
Losing a Language; Secrecy & Repression
(Obasan, Double Happiness)
Silence of History
Language for Self-Expression; Self-Defense.
Languages as systems of beliefs(“Discourse on the Logic of Language”)
Hierarchy of Languages//Races(“Imperialism of Syntax”; Jade’s father)
Distortion, Fiction and Lies. (“Universal Grammar”)Different Kinds of Languages and Silences
I admit it.
I hate the stillness. I hate the stone. . . .
Unless the stone bursts with telling, unless the seed flowers with speech, there is in my life no living word. The sound I hear is only sound. White sound. Words, when they fall, are pock marks on the earth. They are hailstones seeking an underground stream.
If I could follow the stream down and down to the hidden voice, would I come at last to the freeing word? I ask the night sky but the silence is steadfast. There is no reply."
To him that overcometh
will I give to eat
of the hidden manna
and will give him
a white stone
and in the stone
a new name written.
“. . . those rules of grammar were the forgetting of yourself.
Those letters never pronounced before
became the subject of your ridicule.
The bitterness on your tongue became hidden in need for survival
a proof of assimilation,
the invisibility of yourself . . . “
Nourbese "noor-BEH- seh";
BA-- at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.
1968 -- Arrived in Canada
1973 -- a law degree from the University of Western Ontario
1982 -- gave up law completely to write full-time
Harriet's Daughter –novel for young adult
She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks. (the Casa de las Américas prize)M. Nourbese Philip
Apparently official documents
Orality: rhythmic creole language
Re-defining, changing the meanings
Combined; search for the mother tongue
a Collage of
a search for mother (tongue)
A critique of medical, scientific discourse & other authorities.
a personal statement of one’s linguistic identity and anguish.
The capitalized part:
Connected and nourished physically by the mother’s tongue in the past.
What is my mother tongue
my mammy tongue
my mummy tongue
my momsy tongue
my modder tongue
my ma tongue?
I have no mother
no mother to tongue
no tongue to mother
(cannot create tongue to create tongue)
Making a sentence about “Man”
Breaking down to
the smallest fragments cell
Re-member the African origins and history of exploitation
孩子不笨 as an Example