Monolingualism of the Other, Or, The Prosthesis of Origin
“I have but one language—yet that language is not mine.” This book intertwines theoretical reflection with historical and cultural particularity to enunciate, then analyze this conundrum in terms of the author’s own relationship to the French language.
The book operates on three levels. At the first level, a theoretical inquiry investigates the relation between individuals and their “own” language. It also explores the structural limits, desires, and interdictions inherent in such “possession,” as well as the corporeal aspect of language (its accents, tones, and rhythms) and the question of the “countability” of languages (that is, their discreteness or factual givenness).
At the second level, the author testifies to aspects of his acculturation as an Algerian Jew with respect to language acquisition, schooling, citizenship, and the dynamics of cultural-political exclusion and inclusion. At the third level, the book is comparative, drawing on statements from a wide range of figures, from the Moroccan Abdelkebir Khatibi to Franz Rosenzweig, Gershom Scholem, Hannah Arendt, and Emmanuel Levinas.
Since one of the book’s central themes is the question of linguistic and cultural identity, its argument touches on several issues relevant to the current debates on multiculturalism. These issues include the implementation of colonialism in the schools, the tacit or explicit censorship that excludes other (indigenous) languages from serious critical consideration, the investment in an ideal of linguistic purity, and the problematics of translation. The author also reveals the complex interplay of psychological factors that invests the subject of identity with the desire to recover a “lost” language of origin and with the ambition to master the language of the colonizer.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
able Algeria Algiers alienation allows already anamnesis appear appropriate Arabic Arendt become beginning believe belonging birth body called certain certainly citizenship claim colonial common constituted course culture demeure demonstrate desire doubt elsewhere entirely especially event everything example exist experience France Franco-Maghrebian French language German give given guage happen hear hospitality identify identity idiom impossible interdict invent Jewish Jews least less linguistic lived logic longer lost master maternal mean memory monolingualism mother tongue natural necessary never once one's oneself opening origin Paris perhaps politics possession possible precisely promise question reason recall reference remains remarkable replace represented Rosenzweig secret seems sense situation someone sometimes speak speech story strange structure tell thing tion translation truth understand unique universal writing
All Book Search results »
Learning the Arts of Linguistic Survival: Languaging, Tourism, Life
Dr. Alison Phipps
Limited preview - 2006