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Introduction to a Poetics of Diversityby Édouard Glissant$
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Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620979

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620979.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Languages and langages

Languages and langages

(p.19) 2 Languages and langages*
Introduction to a Poetics of Diversity
Celia Britton
Liverpool University Press

This chapter in fact covers a range of subjects: the need for literature to express the ‘world totality’; the difference between ‘atavistic’ and ‘composite’ (i.e., creolized) communities; the ‘Chaos-world’ (Glissant’s term for the unpredictability that he sees as characterizing the modern world); the transition from written to oral expression; and the rejection of ‘monolingualism’ – i.e., the recognition that even if we only speak one language, we nevertheless write ‘in the presence of all the world’s languages’, and this awareness transforms the way we use our own language. There is an important distinction between a language (Creole, French, English, etc.) and a langage (for which there is no equivalent term in English), which is defined as the speaker’s or writer’s subjective relationship to the language that he or she uses. Speakers of different languages can share the same langage: thus there is a langage that is common to the Caribbean as a whole. Finally, Glissant discusses the art and the importance of translation.

Keywords:   atavistic communities, Chaos-world, monolingualism, langage, translation

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