Ahmadou Kourouma

4 September 2009 at 3:52 AM | Posted in News | Leave a comment

Here is a quote from “Discourse in Kourouma’s Novels: Writing Two Languages to Translate Two Realities” (2007), by Amadou Koné:

“As Kourouma says, there is ‘a deficit of vocabulary in the European language as used by the ex-colonized individual’, not because the African fails to understand the French language, but because the French language is incapable of translating an African reality. Thus, without any hesitation, Kourouma is going to compensate for the lacunae of that language in order for it to express a reality related in its fullness. Kourouma asserts his freedom from the beginning:

“‘Je n’avais pas le respect du français qu’ont ceux qui ont une formation classique. . . . Ce qui m’a conduit à rechercher la structure du langage malinké, à reproduire sa dimension orale, à tenter d’épouser la démarche de la pensée malinké dans sa manière d’appréhender le vécu.

“‘I did not have the same respect for French that those with a classical education hold. . . . This led me to strive for the structure of the Malinke language, to reproduce its oral dimension, to attempt to assimilate the procedures of Malinke thought in its mode of apprehending lived experience.'” (p. 114)

This is an insight applicable to all of Wikcrit: another language is used by a writer because the main language is inadequate to express whatever s/he wants to say, or alternatively if the text appears to be monolingual (as I like to say, following Bienvenido N. Santos and N.V.M. Gonzalez), a writer writes in her/his first language using words of the second language.


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