This essay examines the use of language in the literature that discusses the diaspora, with concentration on one novel. The essay concentrates on the diglossic situation that prevails in the Arab world, in which there are two varieties, high and a low, each with a different function. The high variety in the Arab world is modern standard Arabic, and the low variety is the different vernaculars of different countries. The question posed is whether the novel analyzed reflects realistic linguistic choices in the parts of the protagonists or whether this literature projects a different reality with different rules and language choices. If the latter case is true, then language may be used as a tool to redefine reality and project different identities. The choice of standard or vernacular will in fact have a discourse function as well as a creative one.
Research Article|May 01 2010
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Reem Bassiouney; Redefining Identity Through Language in the Literature of the Diaspora. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 May 2010; 30 (1): 101–106. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-2009-055
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