Thi langwij a thi guhtr
in Bad English
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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.

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