Using Literary Arts as a Means of Bridging a Gap in the Understanding of Language Loss: A Comparative Study
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
Dr. Sylvie Gagnon
Senior Lecturer, School of Languages and Cultures, University of Canterbury