Allison Fagan - Negotiating Language.pdf - 20 NEGOTIATING...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 9 pages.

20 NEGOTIATING LANGUAGE Allison E. Fagan In her groundbreaking work, Borderlands/La. Frontera: The New Mestiza, Gloria Anzaldua locates herself in language, arguing, "Ethnic identity is twin skin to ltn, ·guistic identity - I am my language" (1987: 81). But she also acknowledges the diffi, culties of asserting that identity: from the debates surrounding whether or not the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo preserved the rights of Mexican,Americans to speak and conduct business in Spanish, to the fight for Spanish,language education in Puerto Rico as well as the US, to the continuing pressures of the English,Qnly Movement, past and present Spanish speakers have been materially affected by the various legal, political, educational, and even familial subordinations of Spanish to English. The effects of those subordinations frequently surface in Latina/a literaru;e, and as writers struggle to represent the various blends of languages that constitute their reality to a predominantly monolingual audience, communicating in English and/or Spanish simultaneously opens and closes doors to various popular and aca, demic markets. These writers, their publishers, and their readers have negotiated language in a variety of ways, employing a number of strategies for representing the interrelationship of Spanish and English on the page. Each of these strategies, from including a glossary or other forms of direct translation, to code,switching, calquing, and borrowing, to insisting as Dominican,Ameri can writer Junot Diaz does that "Spanish is an American language" (quoted in Ch'ien 2004: 204) reflects 'a ·writer's understanding of her audience, as well as how hard she expects readers to work: to translate, to comprehend, to identify. For Latina/a writers and critics alike, the question of whom to accommodate serves as a primary concern. But an examination of Spanish language use in Latina/a texts (whUe Latina/a writers certainly have other langu3:ges, such as Portuguese, or indigenous dialects at their disposal, Spanish is the most common and therefore the focus of this chapter) often reveals a contradiction between the level of accom, modation authors aim to provide and the level of accommodation the published Product actually affords. This chapter, therefore, is broken into three parts: the first outlines some of the key terms, techniques, and decisions involved in repre, senting language in Latino /a texts. The second section explores how different Writers approach their audiences: accommodating, frustrating, or even ignoring them. The third and final section begins to unpack the impact of publishers, editors, translators, and critics, showing how these various influences can act 207 483
ALLISON E. FAGAN sometimes in concert with and other times at odds with the autho r. What results is a tug of war between multiple interested parties, all negotiating language bn their own terms.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture