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