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Extremely Common Eloquence

constructing Scottish identity through narrative

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Ronald K.S. Macaulay

Extremely Common Eloquence presents a detailed analysis of the narrative and rhetorical skills employed by working-class Scots in talking about important aspects of their lives. The wide range of devices employed by the speakers and the high quality of the examples provide convincing evidence to reject any possible negative evaluation of working-class speech on the basis of details of non-standard pronunciation and grammar. In addition to this display of linguistic accomplishment the examples examined show how these skills are employed to communicate important aspects of Scottish identity and culture.
Although the political status of Scotland has fluctuated over the past four hundred years, the sense of Scottish identity has remained strong. Part of that sense of identity comes from a form of speech that remains markedly distinct from that of the dominant neighbour to the south. There are cultural attitudes that indicate a spirit of independence that is consistent with this linguistic difference. The ways in which the speakers in this book express themselves reveal their beliefs in egalitarianism, independence, and the value of hard work. Extremely Common Eloquence demonstrates how the methods of linguistic analysis can be combined with an investigation into cultural values.

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Edited by Ton Hoenselaars and Marius Buning

The thirty essays in English Literature and the Other Languages trace how the tangentiality of English and other modes of language affects the production of English literature, and investigate how questions of linguistic code can be made accessible to literary analysis. This collection studies multilingualism from the Reformation onwards, when Latin was an alternative to the emerging vernacular of the Anglican nation; the eighteenth-century confrontation between English and the languages of the colonies; the process whereby the standard British English of the colonizer has lost ground to independent englishes (American, Canadian, Indian, Caribbean, Nigerian, or New Zealand English), that now consider the original standard British English as the other languages the interaction between English and a range of British language varieties including Welsh, Irish, and Scots, the Lancashire and Dorset dialects, as well as working-class idiom; Chicano literature; translation and self-translation; Ezra Pound's revitalization of English in the Cantos; and the psychogrammar and comic dialogics in Joyce's Ulysses, As Norman Blake puts it in his Afterword to English Literature and the Other Languages: There has been no volume such as this which tries to take stock of the whole area and to put multilingualism in literature on the map. It is a subject which has been neglected for too long, and this volume is to be welcomed for its brave attempt to fill this lacuna.