Abstract

In his novels and theoretical works, Martiniquan writer Édouard Glissant favors a process of creolization that entails a creative mixing of languages rather than a reinforcement of linguistic hierarchical binaries. For Glissant, creolization does not produce direct synthesis but resultants, a sort of polylingualism within. Patrick Chamoiseau, Glissant’s protégé, also seeks to bridge the gap between standard and nonstandard language through a stylized hybrid. Intended to be self-glossing, the work of Chamoiseau is infused with Creole in sophisticated, didactic ways so as not to alienate the uninitiated reader. In this way, Chamoiseau solicits readers’ active participation in his display of the literary beauty and inventiveness of Creole and, thus, ultimately portrays the vernacular not as an inferior form of speech or simply as other but rather as a language capable of being elevated above standard French. Moreover, Chamoiseau upends traditional methods of incorporating nonstandard language in literary texts by treating the standard form of language as if it were a dialect or patois. Not only does standard French appear in italics, but the intonations of stilted, conventional academic speak are typographically represented in a way that parodies pejorative, humorous representations of the vernacular and other forms of marginalized language. By focusing primarily on diglossic situations involving French and Creole in the works of Chamoiseau, this article explores the ways in which “creolization”—the stylistic representation of a nonstandard form of language—captures the becoming of all languages through its celebration of relational interactions and distinctiveness rather than isolation and hegemony.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-2978
Print ISSN
0084-3695
Pages
pp. 328-335
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-09
Open Access
No
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