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Beyond the Mother Tongue:The Postmonolingual Condition

The Postmonolingual Condition

Yasemin Yildiz

Publication Year: 2011

Monolingualism-the idea that having just one language is the norm is only a recent invention, dating to late-eighteenth-century Europe. Yet it has become a dominant, if overlooked, structuring principle of modernity. According to this monolingual paradigm, individuals are imagined to be able to think and feel properly only in one language, while multiple languages are seen as a threat to the cohesion of individuals and communities, institutions and disciplines. As a result of this view, writing in anything but one's "mother tongue" has come to be seen as an aberration.Beyond the Mother Tongue demonstrates the impact of this monolingual paradigm on literature and culture but also charts incipient moves beyond it. Because newer multilingual forms and practices exist in tension with the paradigm, which alternately obscures, pathologizes, or exoticizes them, this book argues that they can best be understood as "postmonolingual" that is, as marked by the continuing force of monolingualism.Focused on canonical and minority writers working in German in the twentieth century, Beyond the Mother Tongue examines distinct forms of multilingualism, such as writing in one socially unsanctioned "mother tongue" about another language (Franz Kafka); mobilizing words of foreign derivation as part of a multilingual constellation within one language (Theodor W. Adorno); producing an oeuvre in two separate languages simultaneously (Yoko Tawada); writing by literally translating from the "mother tongue" into another language (Emine Sevgi Ozdamar); and mixing different languages, codes, and registers within one text (Feridun Zaimoglu). Through these analyses, Beyond the Mother Tongue suggests that the dimensions of gender, kinship, and affect encoded in the "mother tongue" are crucial to the persistence of monolingualism and the challenge of multilingualism

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page and Copyirght

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pp. ix-xi

I am delighted to acknowledge the many people who have supported this project in different ways over the years. I have been extremely lucky to have Leslie A. Adelson as a mentor. . . .

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Introduction Beyond the Mother Tongue?: Multilingual Practices and the Monolingual Paradigm

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pp. 1-29

On September 29, 2002, the Sunday issue of the New York Times included a sixty-eight-page paid insert previewing a conceptual artwork called . . .

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Chapter One The Uncanny Mother Tongue: Monolingualism and Jewishness in Franz Kafka

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pp. 30-66

With the current revalorization of multilingualism, the Austro-Hungarian empire has gained importance as a reference point.1 In contrast to the German Kaiserreich, which was conceived . . .

chapter twoThe Foreign in theMother TongueWords of Foreign Derivation and Utopia in Theodor W. Adorno

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pp. 79-120

chapter threeDetaching from theMother TongueBilingualism and Liberationin Yoko Tawada

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pp. 121-154

chapter fourSurviving the Mother TongueLiteral Translation and Traumain Emine Sevgi Özdamar

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pp. 155-180

chapter fiveInventing a Motherless TongueMixed Language and Masculinity in Feridun Zaimoğlu

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pp. 181-214

conclusionToward a Multilingual Paradigm?The Disaggregated Mother Tongue

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pp. 215-224


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pp. 225-270

works cited

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pp. 271-296


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pp. 297-304

E-ISBN-13: 9780823249305
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823241309
Print-ISBN-10: 0823241300

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2011