British Linguistic Colonialism in Ireland and India: A Comparison Between Brian Friel’s Translations and Contemporary Anglophone Indian Literature




Ireland, India, Linguistic colonialism, Brian Friel, Anglophone Indian Literature


Ireland and India have a long-standing cultural heritage and also share similarities in certain colonial traits. This paper aims at analysing the phenomenon of linguistic colonialism – in this case the imposition of the English language – and its features by drawing a literary parallel between Ireland and India. Through the comparison of excerpts from Brian Friel’s Translations and passages from contemporary Anglophone Indian literature, this paper will investigate the similarities and differences between the experiences of these two former British colonies. While Friel’s play is set in nineteenth-century Donegal, some of the examples of contemporary Anglophone Indian literature that are provided stretch backwards to reach the nineteenth century, while others engage with contemporary times and the legacy of linguistic colonialism. The features of linguistic colonialism that I will examine are dealt with in three sections that focus on mapping and translation, the treatment of toponyms and names, and the relationship between school and language.

Author Biography

Costanza Mondo, University of Turin

Costanza Mondo is an MA student of Modern Languages and Literatures at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Modern Cultures at the University of Turin, Italy. Her thesis, entitled “Uses of Satire in A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift and The Cockroach by Ian McEwan”, is concerned with satiric devices and the ties of the genre of satire with historical context. Interested in Postmodernism and Postcolonial literature, she is currently investigating Ecocriticism, African Anglophone literature and contemporary English literature. Other research interests include, but are not limited to, intertextuality, cultural identity, storytelling and processes of community-forging. The authors she focused on are Abdulrazak Gurnah, Damon Galgut, Christy Lefteri, Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro. As far as Indian Anglophone literature is concerned, she recently published papers on Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh and Amnesty by Aravind Adiga.


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How to Cite

Mondo, C. (2022). British Linguistic Colonialism in Ireland and India: A Comparison Between Brian Friel’s Translations and Contemporary Anglophone Indian Literature. ABEI Journal, 24(2), 55-69.