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Bad EnglishLiterature, Multilingualism, and the Politics of Language in Contemporary Britain$
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Rachael Gilmour

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526108845

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526108852

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Thi langwij a thi guhtr

Thi langwij a thi guhtr

(p.38) 1 Thi langwij a thi guhtr
Bad English

Rachael Gilmour

Manchester University Press

Chapter one considers the language politics of Scotland, in relation to claims for Scottish postcoloniality, as a way into considering the work of Scottish writers James Kelman and Tom Leonard. In their essays, as well as their prose and poetry respectively, both probe the evident distance between the written norms of Standard English and the Scots language-world of white working-class Glasgow, finding in the dynamics between writing and speech a synecdoche of the class system. As this chapter argues, Leonard and Kelman both in different ways draw on postcolonial literature, anticolonial politics, and Chomskyan linguistic thought, and claim solidarity in particular with Caribbean and black British writers, seeking on the grounds of language to reconcile a committed literary localism with an expansive anticolonial internationalism.

Keywords:   Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Scottish literature, Scots language, Postcolonialism, Politics of language, Language and class

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