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Weird English
     

Weird English

by Evelyn Nien-Ming Ch'ien
 
With Increasing Frequency, readers of literature are encountering barely intelligible, sometimes unrecognizable languages created by combining one or more languages with English. Evelyn Ch'ien argues that weird English constitutes the new language of literature, implicitly launching a new literary theory.

Weird English explores experimental and unorthodox uses of

Overview

With Increasing Frequency, readers of literature are encountering barely intelligible, sometimes unrecognizable languages created by combining one or more languages with English. Evelyn Ch'ien argues that weird English constitutes the new language of literature, implicitly launching a new literary theory.

Weird English explores experimental and unorthodox uses of English by multilingual writers traveling from the canonical works of Vladimir Nabokov and Maxine Hong Kingston to the less-critiqued linguistic terrain of Junot Diaz and Arundhati Roy. It examines the syntactic and grammatical innovations of these authors, who use English to convey their ambivalence toward or enthusiasm for English or their political motivations for altering its rules. Ch'ien looks at how the collision of other languages with English invigorated and propelled the evolution of language in the twentieth century and beyond.

Ch'ien defines the allure and tactical features of a new writerly genre, even as she herself writes with a vigor that communicates her ideas with great panache.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In her first book, scholar Nien-Ming Ch'ien (English, Univ. of Hartford) makes a sophisticated theoretical argument by proposing that with the rise of world literatures in English, readers are encountering barely intelligible and sometimes unrecognizable English resulting from a combination of one or more languages with English. She terms this combination weird English (which includes, for example, Japglish, Chinglish, and Spanglish) and places it in opposition to orthodox English. Examining the works of such multicultural writers as Vladimir Nabokov, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Arundhati Roy, the author posits that weird English obliterates the boundary between the sacred and the profane in language and demands a new literary theory. Moreover, this variety of English serves as a subversive strategy for immigrant and postcolonial writers since it destabilizes the dominance of English; allows other languages to enjoy the same status; enables these geographically, culturally, and linguistically exiled writers to articulate the spirit of diasporic cultures; and, ultimately, invigorates English. The author's somewhat unorthodox and vivacious style perfectly complements her argument. Her book, which includes useful scholarly notes, is essential for academic libraries, especially those with strong postcolonial, postmodern, and sociolinguistics interests.-Aparna Zambare, Central Michigan Univ. Libs., Mount Pleasant Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674013377
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
06/15/2004
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Evelyn Nien-Ming Ch'ien is Associate Professor of English at the University of Minnesota.

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