ABSTRACT This paper presents the progressive loss of words in Caribbean English patwas which occurs in traditional songs. The empty slots found in lexicographic entries may so decree the death of the lexeme. But in the case of phytonyms or botanical terms, this entails much more than the simple loss of a word. It is the loss of a microcosm of ethnic wisdom and healing practices that goes with it, severing its roots from its original macrocosm which in this case is the whole African Continent. Different adaptations of a West Indian Weed Woman song (traditional Guyanese ballad) are analysed, highlighting how plant names have been deleted in a diachronic progression. In a recent and current version, however, those names are recovered, tracing back their original African provenance. English in post-colonial discourse and contexts has so many varieties marked by gender, age, and cross-cultural features which, if these nourish a creative and expressive soil and terrain, do not always encounter 'easiness' in translation and inter-language communication. On the contrary, as we may see from the cases we examined, post-colonial translation discourse offers a most challenging communicative filter, which can be effectively used also to fight inequalities toward an appraisal of contact languages and forward an ethical approach to global linguistic rights and education.

The loss of worlds in words: lexicography, ethnicity and traditional songs

TOMEI R
2011

Abstract

ABSTRACT This paper presents the progressive loss of words in Caribbean English patwas which occurs in traditional songs. The empty slots found in lexicographic entries may so decree the death of the lexeme. But in the case of phytonyms or botanical terms, this entails much more than the simple loss of a word. It is the loss of a microcosm of ethnic wisdom and healing practices that goes with it, severing its roots from its original macrocosm which in this case is the whole African Continent. Different adaptations of a West Indian Weed Woman song (traditional Guyanese ballad) are analysed, highlighting how plant names have been deleted in a diachronic progression. In a recent and current version, however, those names are recovered, tracing back their original African provenance. English in post-colonial discourse and contexts has so many varieties marked by gender, age, and cross-cultural features which, if these nourish a creative and expressive soil and terrain, do not always encounter 'easiness' in translation and inter-language communication. On the contrary, as we may see from the cases we examined, post-colonial translation discourse offers a most challenging communicative filter, which can be effectively used also to fight inequalities toward an appraisal of contact languages and forward an ethical approach to global linguistic rights and education.
English Language; Translation; lexicography
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12071/10929
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