11 April 2010

Taiwan's "combination language"

A 2007 thesis gives us more insight into the Taigi literature debates:

"Another emphasis in Peng’s [Rui-Jin, 1991] article was the discussion of combination language. He believed that in the future, the language for Taiwan literature might be the combined language of Taiwan history and practical elements. The current languages such as Hakkanese, Minnanyu, indigenous languages, and Mandarin might be mixed to give rise to be a new language of Taiwan. He mentioned the 'Trilogy of A Chilly Night' by Li Ciao and 'Lang Tao Sha' by Dong Fang-Bai, both as works, which displayed such new language. This kind of combined language was a clever suggestion that needed further thought."

What is happening (or what happened) in Taiwan is very similar to what is happening in countries with several languages (such as the Philippines). Writers (who are the usually the most aware of postcolonial issues) tend to mix languages for many purposes, among which is the subversion of the colonial language, as well as the faithful representation of the reality of a postcolonial people (half dreaming of being part of the colonizing country and half remembering that they are being oppressed as the colonized).

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