Using Literary Arts as a Means of Bridging a Gap in the Understanding of Language Loss: A Comparative Study

By:
Dr. Sylvie Gagnon
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This paper addresses how to bridge the gap between literature and sociolinguistic studies to understand better the meaning of language loss and identity. Usually studied within the discipline of sociolinguistics, the conditions of language loss are described and deciphered in a rigorous way thanks to an abundant metalanguage. Literature, on its part, has the capacity to create intimacy, where confessions can be made, emotions of shame or prejudices can be spelt out through characters. The patient weaving of a society, a family, or the intricacy of an individual's thoughts through text creates a space enabling a display of complexity which cannot be revealed in a purely sociolinguistic inquiry. Using data from literature (Victor Hugo and Annie Ernaux) and sociolinguistic studies, this paper will show the contribution literature can make to the understanding of the meaning of language loss for identity.


Keywords: Literary Arts, Linguistics, Language Loss, Identity, Culture, Interdisciplinary Research
Stream: Analysing Artforms
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Literary Arts, Imagination and Loss


Dr. Sylvie Gagnon

Senior Lecturer, School of Languages and Cultures, University of Canterbury
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Sylvie Gagnon's maint interest as an interdisciplinary researcher is the interaction between individual identity, culture, language and gender at both literary and linguistic levels. After gaining a PhD in French Linguistics, she was appointed lecturer at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. She has written articles in the field of linguistics. She has published two novels and poetry. Her work in progress is the writing of a novel about the meaning of language loss. Research for this project was conducted in Britanny and in Wales in 2005-2006.

Ref: A06P0454