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lonely londoners

By muadude Apr 24, 2014 728 Words
Not only the story of the ‘The Lonely Londoners’ sends a message to its readers. It is also the language of the novel that successfully communicates with the readership. By the manipulation of Standard English or by using some form of Creolized English, Selvon distance himself from the mainstream culture of the United Kingdom, the power that colonized his homelands for several hundreds of years. The novel is targeted to groups of readers, the black and also the white people. The white readers can see it as a declaration of the detachment from the culture that always suppressed and underestimated the black people and the black readers in Britain can see it as an encouragement for forming a particular subcultural group that is worth noticing.

What is important: in the novel not only the characters use Creolized English but also the Third-person narrative is written in this form. According to Bentley, it “represents an empowering expression of collective identity that rejects the positioning of authority produced by having the narrator speak in Standard English whilst the characters use dialect.” Selvon rejects Standard English as the only correct form of English suitable for writing. Moreover, the use of the same form of Creolized English for the characters and for the narrative makes an impression that the person who is telling the story of the immigrants in Britain is actually one of them, and not only some distant observer: the narrator knows the people and situations from his own experience.

The only character different from the rest, at least when it comes to language, is Harris. He behaves like Englishmen, dresses like them and also speaks like them. The narrative comments on it: “Man, when Harris starts to spout English for you, you realise that you don't really know the language” (Selvon 103). However, the rest of the characters do not approve his way of speaking and behaving. They believe that he should remember his origin and that he should live according to it because they do not want to change their lifestyle as well. The Afro-Caribbean characters in The Lonely Londoners are willing to live next to the white people of Britain but not like them. They all have reason for keeping their old lives. Some of them, such as Galahad, because even if they behave like the white Britishers they will always remain black anyway, which basically keeps them away from the better lives. However, some of them, such as Tanty, because they are proud of their way of live and do not find it any worse that lives of the white people.

Several marks make the language of The Lonely Londoners different from Standard English. For example,
-the use of “do” even in third person singular, for instance.

“He don't know how he always getting in position like this...”(Selvon 4).
The above example also shows omission of auxiliary verb “to be” in present continuous.

-The verb “to be” is often omitted even in sentences in present simple, as in

“It have some fellars who in Brit'n long...” (Selvon 4).

- avoidance of possessive,for example;

“The fellar name Henry Oliver...”(Selvon 1),
-usage of

“them” instead of “those”,
“...and all them English people stopping in the road and admiring the baby curly hair...”(Selvon 15). -Selvon also makes use altered syntax, and in addition,

-selvon also makes use of several Caribbean slang words like. “fellar”, “spade”, “rab” or “test”.

Interesting and somewhat problematic issue about the language used in the novel is, that the language is not authentic. It is not spoken in any part of the Caribbean, it is rather a blend of various different variations and dialects spoken throughout the Caribbean (Bentley). One of the reasons why Selvon did not use fully Creolized English is quite obvious. He wanted even the speakers of Standard English to be able to read his novel. By using this form of artificial Creole, he managed to accomplish both goals: to make the novel accessible to as many readers as possible but also to use it as a token of distance from the British mainstream culture.

REG NO : E35/MAC-IB/10326/2011

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