06 June 2009

Linguists on mixed language

Linguists have not quite figured out what to do about mixed languages. In a paper for the Redesigning Pedagogy: Culture, Knowledge and Understanding conference in Singapore in May 2007, Bao Duy Thai of the Australian National University starts by admitting that "there has hardly been a consensus on how a mixed language is defined (Bakker 2003; Backus 2003; Myers-Scotton 2002, 2003)." Here is where multilingual literary critics can do better than linguists. We can explore our twin definitions of multilingual literature, namely, first, literature that uses words from two or more languages, and second, literature written by a writer in a second or foreign language.

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