Written code-switching and in-text translations

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Written code-switching and in-text translations

Riikka Ala-Risku, University of Helsinki

Italy’s intricate sociolinguistic situation reflects its fragmented history and produces various language contact fenomena between standard Italian, based on 14th century Florentine, and numerous regional/local dialects, often mutually unintelligible (Berruto 2005). In spite of the Italianization process, which dialects have been undergoing since the Italian unification in 1861, dialects have resurfaced in narrative (Dardano 2010) and a number of contemporary authors have chosen to use them alongside Italian.
In my doctoral thesis, I examine code-switching in contemporary Italian narrative, a subject that lacks a comprehensive study. In this presentation, my aim is to analyse one peculiar aspect of the literary use of dialects, namely in-text translations (Bandia 1996). These translations represent a fundamental difference between oral and written code-switching: the audience for the former is assumed to be bilingual (at least to some extent), whereas the latter is aimed at a presumably monolingual audience (Callahan 2004: 114). Therefore code-switching writers use different types of in-text translations in order to guarantee the comprehension of potentially obscure elements within the text, that is “have their cake and eat it too” (Delabastita – Grutman 2005: 17). In-text translations constitute a widely used strategy with various forms, which range from highlighted explicit translations or even footnotes and glossaries to literal translations similar to monolingual synonyms or carefully hidden contextual translations. I claim that translations are also used, on one hand, to promote the local identity, especially concerning localized terminology and, on the other, to face the requirements imposed by the editors and the market.

Bandia, P. 1996. Code-switching and code-mixing in African creative writing: some insights for

translation studies. Traduction, terminologie, rédaction, 9(1), 139-151.

Berruto, G. 2005. Dialect/standard convergence, mixing, and models of language contact: the

case of Italy. Auer, P. – F. Hinskens – P. Kerswill (Eds.) Dialect change, convergence and divergence in European languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 81 – 95.

Callahan, L. 2004. Spanish/English Codeswitching in a Written Corpus. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Dardano, M. 2010. Stili provvisori. La lingua della narrativa italiana d’oggi. Roma: Carocci.

Delabastita, D. – Grutman, R. 2005. Fictionalising translation and multilingualism. Antwerpen: Hogeschool Antwerpen.

Constructing the Standard from the Non-standard: Algerian Arabic within French Literature

Khadija Belfarhi, University of Annaba Algeria

Modern literature paved its doors to non-literature in allowing its language to construct from the standard and non-standard forms texts whose identity is split between two cultures embedded in two different languages. The rejection of the standard is a growing interest in modern writers who find in the idiolect more space for inserting different literary objects. Dialectical writings, however, do not all keep inside the same linguistic system as it is the case, for example, of American writers writing in American vernaculars. There is another less recognised category whose literary representation goes out of the whole linguistic system by inserting idiolectical features in a well-structured way that successfully establishes the integration of the standard form with the non-standard being opposed not only in the linguistic system but too in the degree of formality and status. It is precisely the case of Algerian literature expressed in the French language. There are here two types of integration: the first is “objective” in Bernstein’s view because it keeps inside the standard language with little interference from the idiolect. The book of Nedjma by Kateb Yaccinen, for instance, makes use of rare forms which are purely taken from dialectical Arabic. The second is “constructive” (ibid) as it draws an alterity from the idiolect to the standard language which is linguistically strange to it as the idiolect is Arabic while the standard is French. This is due to the fact that writing becomes transcultural rather than local or interlocal (Shukla & Shukla, 2006) and the challenges of multiculturalism (Watten, 2003) melted radically divergent systems together whereby the case of Algerian Arabic within the French language is a good example. This itinerary channel, which melts the dialect in the standard language, takes the following features:

  1. The surface structure of the text is standard whereas the deep is ideolectical1.

  2. Alterity to Dialectal meaning occurs in the intimate descriptions.

  3. Alterity to standard meaning occurs in the general descriptions.

  4. The dominance of the standard language is the key to its construction2.

In brief, the present proposal discusses the construction of French literary texts from Algerian dialectical Arabic. Illustrations on this itinerancy are taken principally from the novelist Rachid Boujedra’s writings (eg. La répudiation), who is an Algerian writer known for his adherence to the dialectical form of literary texts.

Beinstein, C. (1996). Stein’s Identity, Modern Fiction Studies, 42, 3.

Boudjedra, R. (2002). La répudiation. Éditions ANEP, Algiers.

Shukla, S.B., & Shukla, A. (2006). Migrant voices in literatures in English. Sarup & Sons.

Yacine, K. (1966). Le polygone étoilé. Éditions Seuil, Paris.

Watten, B. (2003). The constructivist moment: from material text to cultural poetics. Wesleyan University Press.

At the Crossroads of Languages: The Postcolonial Text and the Promise of Translation

Simona Bertacco, University of Louisville

‘The postcolonial’, as Graham Huggan called it, is generally defined as an interdisciplinary field in which cultural practices are studied alongside the more practical – i.e. historical, political, legal, etc. – aspects of colonization. Yet, as a scholarly field, the postcolonial is almost always studied within the boundaries of one language, one colonial empire, one cultural framework, and one academic discipline. A single-language approach to postcolonial literature is indeed unfaithful to one of the basic features of the postcolonial world – its multilingualism – no matter how careful the research. What happens, then, when we acknowledge hearing variations of standard English in the background when reading a poem, a novel, a play by a ‘postcolonial’ writer? What kind of reading is demanded by a textuality that explicitly toys with several languages or that mixes standard language and dialect?
In my paper I will argue that the challenge facing postcolonial studies today is to become, literally and crucially, a discourse of and on translation. In particular, by scrutinizing the ‘busy borders’ between languages in writers such as Dionne Brand, Brian Friel, Tomson Highway, M. NourbeSe Philip, I will argue for the recognition of the central and creative role of translation in shaping the poetics of postcolonial texts. A translation-oriented approach to the postcolonial text would ground our textual analyses in more complex contexts and, through a comparative perspective, would promote new and fresh engagements with texts, territories and cultures at the crossroads of languages and dialects.

Robert Burns, stereotypes and stylization

Alex Broadhead,University of Liverpool

Robert Burns’s posthumous role as a stereotypical icon of Scotland is well-documented. His reliance on linguistic stereotypes, however, has been overlooked by literary critics and linguists alike, perhaps as a result of a historical tendency to undervalue the perceivedly ‘inauthentic’ aspects of his language. In this paper, I argue that the significance of Burns’s use of stereotypes might most fruitfully be understood not in terms of misrepresentation or inauthenticity, but rather in terms of the sociolinguistic concept of ‘stylization’ (Coupland 2001, 2007).
In Coupland’s account, stylization is a socially-meaningful form of linguistic variation which ‘brings into play stereotyped semiotic and ideological values associated with other groups, situations or times,’ and which ‘radically mediates understanding of the ideational, identificational and relational meanings of its own utterances’ (2007: 154). Put simply, stylisation projects stereotypical personas, but it also calls them into question. Accordingly, throughout Burns’s work, stereotyping and stylisation are employed in order to invoke as well as to reconfigure different kinds of Ayrshire, Scottish and British identity. On the surface of things, Burns’s use of Scots stereotypes might appear to reflect a desire on his part to pander to the expectations of English readers and to promote a narrow and false image of Scottish culture. But far from reinforcing a univocal image of Scottishness, these features were in Burns’s hands a means by which the regional and national identities he shared with different sections of his readership were reinvented and renewed in startling ways.
The stylistic turn that sociolinguistics has taken since the mid-1990s means that it will not come as a surprise to sociolinguists to discover that their theories are applicable to poetry. More unexpected, perhaps, is the revelation that the self-reflexive, ambivalent and performative forms of linguistic variation associated with late modernity can be observed fully-formed in the writing of an eighteenth-century poet. Burns’s use of stereotypes, I suggest, forces us to rethink the points of continuity between early dialect literature and modern mass media-influenced conversational practice.

Coupland, Nikolas (2001), ‘Dialect stylization in radio talk’, Language in Society, 20, 345-375
---------------------- (2007), Style: Language Variation and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Them was funny lines’: Corpus Linguistics, Literary Dialect, and Martin McDonagh

Meaghan Connell, National University of Ireland, Galway
Since the opening of The Beauty Queen of Leenane in 1996, playwright Martin

McDonagh has attracted a great deal of attention and controversy. Some of this attention has been focused on McDonagh’s choice to represent Irish English dialect in the five plays that he has set in Ireland. To some, the use of certain non-standard features in the dialect of McDonagh’s Irish plays invokes reminiscence of, or even helps to perpetuate, the “Stage Irish” stereotype, a negative view of the Irish people as backwards, unintelligent, and violent. For these critics and audience members, McDonagh’s dialect is more a reflection of the theatrical language of writers like Synge than a representation of actual Irish English speech. The present paper seeks to address some of these issues by examining the dialect of McDonagh’s Irish plays through a linguistics-based lens. In this paper, elements of corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics, and literary criticism are employed to analyze McDonagh’s dialect in an attempt to answer questions about the language’s authenticity and function.

By digitizing and collecting the dialogue of McDonagh’s plays in corpus form, I have made it possible to analyze it using the tools of corpus linguistics, just as one would analyze any other language. In treating McDonagh’s dialogue as a linguistic variety in its own right, it then becomes McDonagh English, a sort of ‘daughter language’ of Irish English. I have examined how similar McDonagh English is to – or how divergent it is from – its parent (in the form of the International Corpus of English – Ireland Component) statistically through the frequency of syntactic, lexical, and discourse features believed to be common to both varieties. Using this quantitative analysis of the dialect as a basis, I offer a more qualitative analysis of the literary dialect’s effect on the works themselves, and on critical and public response.

It takes a Yorkshireman to talk Yorkshire” : towards a framework for the historical study of enregisterment

Paul Cooper, University of Sheffield
In this paper I consider the phenomenon of enregisterment and whether it can be studied in historical contexts. Following Johnstone et al’s definition of enregisterment as an instance where a feature has ‘become associated with a style of speech and can be used to create a context for that style’ (2006:82), I am investigating whether their notions of second and third-order indexicality can be applied to historical texts. I am specifically focussing on a stereotypical feature of the Yorkshire dialect: the phenomenon of Definite Article Reduction; as this feature is, to some extent, enregistered.
The historical context of this paper is the nineteenth century, due to the evolution of a strong interest in dialects in that century (Milroy in Watts & Trudgill (eds) 2002:14); the role that the resulting dialect dictionaries played in enregistering dialect features (Beal 2009:141-145); and the sheer quantity of examples of DAR in nineteenth-century Yorkshire dialect literature (a pilot study showed that around 80% of all definite articles were reduced).
My data for this paper comes from a corpus of dialect literature, literary dialect (Shorrocks 1999), and texts which discuss dialect such as Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary (1905) and Hunter’s Hallamshire Glossary (1888). I shall also consider data from contemporary newspapers such as The York Herald (October 25 1889), which mentions ‘the abbreviation...of the definite article’.
I am attempting to answer the following questions: (1) are comments like: ‘The absence of þ or th in the definite article is remarkable in the Sheffield dialect’ (Addy 1888:xviii) and ‘it is said the ghost of a t' is always to be recognised’ (Easther 1883:134) evidence for the nineteenth-century enregisterment of DAR?; (2) do textual representations of DAR highlight the feature’s enregisterment?; (3) is it possible to create a framework for the historical study of enregisterment?


Addy, S. O. (1888). A Glossary of Words used in the Neighbourhood of Sheffield including a Selection of local names, and some Notices of Folk-lore, Games and Customs. London: Published for the English Dialect Society by Trubner & Co. Ludgate Hill.

Beal, J. C. (2009) ‘Enregisterment, Commodification, and Historical Context: “Geordie” versus “Sheffieldish”’. American Speech 84 (2): 138-156.

Easther, Alfred (1883). A Glossary of the Dialect of Almondbury and Huddersfield. London: Published for the English Dialect Society by Truber & Co, Ludgate Hill.

Hunter, Joseph (1888). The Hallamshire Glossary. William Pickering.

Johnstone, B, Andrus, J, and Danielson, A. E. (2006). ‘Mobility, Indexicality and the Enregisterment of “Pittsburghese”. Journal of English Linguistics 34 (2): 77-104.

Milroy, J. 2002. ‘The Legitimate Language’ in Watts and Trudgill (eds). Alternative Histories of English. pp 6-27. Routledge.

Morris M.C.F. (1892). Yorkshire Folk-Talk with characteristics of those who speak it in the North and East Ridings. London: Henry Frowde.

Shorrocks, G (1999) ‘Working-Class Literature in Working-Class Language: The North of England’ in Hoenselaars, T and Buning, M (eds). English Literature and Other Languages. pp.87-96. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Wright, Joseph (1905). The English Dialect Dictionary. Published by Henry Frowde, Amen Corner, E.C.

http://newspapers.bl.uk/blcs/ - accessed 10/11/2010 16:50 (York Herald acquired here)
Dialect as Style and Authorial Identity in Indonesian Teen Literature

Dwi Noverini Djenar, University of Sydney

Dialect, in the general sociolinguistic sense, is understood as the speech characteristics linked to a social group at a particular time and place. Research in this area is hitherto concerned with examining dialect boundaries, contact, and change over time. Recent advances in sociolinguistics have illuminated the fact that the complexity of modern life brings with it a challenge for the view that associates one dialect with one particular place. Within these advances, dialects are considered as ‘social styles’ which serve as resources that speakers draw to make personal and interpersonal meanings (Coupland 2007: 2). This paper is theoretically situated within this framework.
The purpose of the paper is to analyse the relation between linguistic style and authorial identity in Indonesian teen literature. Teen literature or ‘teenlit’ is a sub-genre of popular adolescent literature, introduced to the Indonesian audience at the beginning of the last decade, initially through works translated from English. Since the publication of the first Indonesian teenlit in 2001, this sub-genre has captured a wide youth readership, particularly in urban areas, and has been instrumental in encouraging adolescents to read and write fiction. A key characteristic of the teenlit style is its abundant use, both in narration and dialogue, of the Jakartan variety of informal Indonesian – the most prominent among colloquial varieties because of its association with middle-class urban youth and a modern lifestyle, and the influence of mass media. Though this colloquial variety is strongly associated with speakers from the capital city, its use has spread to other urban areas and is pervasively used in artefacts of popular culture (e.g., popular written texts, including online publications, radio and television broadcasts, and films). Teenlit novels are written by authors from different regions who use Jakartan Indonesian to represent the speech styles of urban youth. The multiplicity of geographical locations and media in which this colloquial variety is employed makes it appropriate to analyse the language in teenlit in terms of style rather than dialect.
This paper examines inter-author and intra-author variation (the term ‘intra-author’ is adapted from ‘intra-speaker’ in variationist linguistics (see Schilling-Estes 2002: 375)) in four teenlit novels. Focusing the analysis on person-reference (first and second persons) and negative marking, I argue that an author’s choice of linguistic forms reflects not only their knowledge of how urban youth speak and how to represent that social style in fiction, but also, their authorial identity. Self-orientation towards ‘serious’ literature and observance of the normative expectation in which standard Indonesian is considered the proper language of narration bears on the way that Jakartan Indonesian is employed in a novel. To this end, it can be said that knowledge of language varieties serves as a resource to create personal meanings – meanings that are then communicated interpersonally to readers of the novels.

Coupland, Nikolas. 2007. Style: Language Variation and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schilling-Estes, N. 2002. Investigating stylistic variation. In Chambers, J.K., Trudgill, P. and Schilling-Estes, N., eds. The Handbook of Language Variation and Change. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

'It's literary, is that': Right dislocation in 19th to 21st century fiction 

Mercedes Durham, University of Aberdeen

Reverse right dislocation, as found, for example, in Dickens’ Dombey and Son, ‘He is a blunt old blade is Josh’, is a type of right dislocation whereby the dislocated subject noun phrase is preceded by an auxiliary verb, a modal verb or do. This makes it rather different from the more common form of right dislocation where the verb is not repeated ('He is a blunt old blade, Josh'). The reverse right dislocation form is first attested in Dickens and is found many other Victorian authors, as well as in a number of contemporary authors (for example, Margaret Atwood, William Boyd and Neil Gaiman).

Although it is likely that the feature was previously more geographically widespread, contemporary sociolinguistic research has shown it to be a predominantly oral Northern English feature, which raises the question why these modern day authors are using it. In some instances, old and new, the feature is indeed used for dialectal effect or as a verbal tic, but not always, so what purpose does this dialectal feature serve in otherwise Standard English contexts?  By comparing Victorian and modern authors, this paper will assess whether these modern authors are, knowingly or unknowingly, echoing the way the reverse right dislocation was used by the earlier authors or whether it serves new functions. 

Barbarous Patois” or “Artistic Truth”: Dialect, Authenticity, and Stigma in James Kay-Shuttleworth’s Scarsdale

Frank Emmett, Independent Scholar
Son of a Lancashire textile manufacturer, James Kay-Shuttleworth (1804-1877), the social reformer who rose to prominence as a Manchester physician in the cholera of 1832 when he wrote The Moral and Physical Condition of the Working Classes…in Manchester, is best known as a pioneer of the statistical movement and founder of state education in Britain. In literary circles, he is known for facilitating the meeting of Mrs. Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë. The latter dismissively said that he was 9/10 utilitarian and 1/10 artistic: “this tithe of his nature seems…at war with all the rest.” Yet his 1860 novel, Scarsdale, or Life on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Border Thirty Years Ago, is a complex attempt to fuse the regional and the utopian using what his Lancashire contemporaries (including Samuel Bamford and the folklorist John Harland) considered authentic East Lancashire dialect--which the London press dismissed as “barbarous patois”. This paper considers two aspects of Kay-Shuttleworth’s rendition of dialect. First, we look at his dialect “credentials”; how he handles the perennial dilemma of how much dialect speech to infuse; and how orthographically-challenging to be, without alienating a targeted national readership. Secondly, we examine his ambivalence about dialect as a stigma of class, a vehicle for social rupture, or a benign manifestation of regional “colour” in a safe and ordered mid-Victorian society. The ambivalence was personal as well as philosophical: he was mocked by the aristocratic Lord North, his wife’s guardian, for “the occasional homission of his ‘H”s”, but courted for his skill as a storyteller giving voice to his Lancashire characters. This ambivalence makes his novel and its context a rich and fascinating nexus for exploring the insecurities about dialect that cut through the apparent embrace of regional and class modes of discourse in an age of national hubris.

Dialect Code-Switching in the Poetry and Prose of Tom Hague/Totley Tom

Hugh Escott, University of Sheffield

In this paper I will attempt to apply the linguistic framework of code-switching to the representations of the Sheffield and RP dialects usage in the work of Sheffield miner poet and writer Tom Hague. Tom Hague (1915-1998?), also known as Totley Tom, was a politically active dialect poet and writer from Sheffield who frequently used representations of his own Sheffield dialect in his poetic and prose writing. The cultural perceptions of those who perform dialect code-switching, as well as attempts by a speaker to wholly change their dialect use, are explored regularly in Hague’s collection of stories and poems Tales of a Yorkshire Miner published in 1976. Hague regularly switches between writing using dialectal respellings and standardised written English; portraying speakers who switch and also creating a narrative voice which extensively code-switches throughout the collection. What this paper will explore is whether it is possible to map linguistic ideas about code-switching and its cultural values onto a literary collection when the dynamics of ‘real’ language speech acts and the orthographic representation of language are complex and distinct from one another.

Hague ascribes certain cultural values to those who undertake this switching process with their speech acts and these values are not only consistent throughout his collection but are also consistent with the cultural values of his community. This paper will explore: if it is workable to view a literary collection using the linguistic methodology of code-switching, when the collection includes works: written in standard, that represent dialect and that are written wholly in dialect; the cultural values ascribed to code-switching and dialect usage in Hague’s collection and how these values apply to his performance of his regional dialect; and how Hague’s representations of his dialect work as literary performances or approximations of speech and therefore how they relate to ‘real’ speech.

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