Whose Language?

A study in Linguistic Pragmatics

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"For the colonized person, objectivity is always directed against him" (Frantz Fanon). Colonized persons do not live on what we call (or used to call) the "colonies" alone. In general, objective reality, or the "facts of life", are very different depending on the <i>kind</i> of life you can afford. This goes for language as well; and it explains both the title of this book, and gives it its "raison d'être". It deals with power in language, and asks: Who is really in command when we use "our" language? And why does it make sense to talk about a language of power (or lack of it)? The powerful are the colonizers, the colonized are the powerless, in language as in geopolitics. Colonizers and colonized alike, however, are subject to the social and economic conditions prevailing in society and therefore, a thorough analysis of these conditions is a must for any socially-oriented theory of language use.

Subjects: Pragmatics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Southern Denmark

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