Not Like a Native Speaker: On Languaging as a Postcolonial by Rey Chow

By Rey Chow

Even though the period of eu colonialism has lengthy handed, misgivings in regards to the inequality of the encounters among eu and non-European languages persist in lots of components of the postcolonial global. This unfinished scenario, this lingering ancient adventure of being stuck between unequal languages, is the topic of Rey Chow's e-book. a various crew of personae, by no means ahead of assembled in an identical demeanour, make their appearances within the a number of chapters: the younger mulatto occurring upon a photo approximately pores and skin colour in a well-liked journal; the guy from Martinique listening to himself named "Negro" in public in France; name heart brokers in India educated to Americanize their accents whereas talking with shoppers; the Algerian Jewish thinker reflecting on his relation to the French language; African intellectuals debating the professionals and cons of utilizing English for reasons of artistic writing; the translator performing through turns as a traitor and as a mourner during cross-cultural alternate; Cantonese-speaking writers of chinese language considering the politics of nutrition intake; radio drama staff straddling the varieties of conventional storytelling and mediatized sound broadcast.

In those riveting scenes of conversing and writing imbricated with race, pigmentation, and sophistication demarcations, Chow indicates, postcolonial languaging turns into, de facto, an order of biopolitics. The local speaker, the fulcrum determine usually accorded a transcendent prestige, is realigned right here because the repository of illusory linguistic origins and unities. by means of placing British and post-British Hong Kong (the urban the place she grew up) into the languaging controversies that have a tendency to be pursued in Francophone (and sometimes Anglophone) deliberations, and via sketching the fraught events confronted through these dealing with the specifics of utilizing chinese language whereas negotiating with English, Chow not just redefines the geopolitical barriers of postcolonial inquiry but in addition demonstrates how such inquiry needs to articulate ancient event to the conduct, practices, impacts, and imaginaries established in sounds and scripts.

Rey Chow is Anne Firor Scott Professor of Literature at Duke collage and the writer of various influential books, together with a number of released by means of Columbia collage Press: Primitive Passions; The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism; and Sentimental Fabulations, modern chinese language Films. A ebook approximately her writings, The Rey Chow Reader, was once edited via Paul Bowman. Her paintings has seemed in additional than ten languages.

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Although a habitus may not be directly or positivistically observed and documented, it makes way conceptually for a more fluid grasp of interpersonal practices followed by individuals (whom Bourdieu refers to as “agents”) as they maneuver in the objective world. Like taste, which he has famously described as “social necessity made second nature, turned into muscular patterns and bodily automatisms,”22 habitus is that collective practice cum imaginary that gives one a sense of one’s place. In an essay published more than three decades after his studies in Algeria, “Making the Economic Habitus: Algerian Workers Revisited,”23 Bourdieu reiterates his intentions and clarifies his contributions.

Chief among them is the status of linguistic particularity that, as Ngũgĩ insists, should be recognized as the very conduit for cultural transmission. How are we to think about such particularity beyond the kind of nativist ground as adhered to by Ngũgĩ? indb 42 N O T L I K E A N AT I V E S P E A K E R 7/30/14 1:12 PM “I hope not”?

Hence Derrida’s uneasy awareness that he probably does not sound completely authentic: “Not everything in my ‘French Algerian’ accent is lost. indb 23 23 7/30/14 1:12 PM thus a general sense of incompetence and disability, this monolingualism of the other legitimates itself by getting rid of likely competitors, by making sure that native languages such as Arabic and Berber become increasingly marginal and useless. During Derrida’s youth, the study of Arabic, for instance, was restricted to the school, where it was presented as an alien (foreign) language, an option like English, Spanish, or German, and Berber was never included.

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