Immigrant’s language identity in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah
Keywords:language identity, immigration, novel “Americanah”, language regime
The article analyzes theoretical works which discuss the features of language identity in the era of global mobility. The current intensive movement of the human masses has led to a departure from the conceptualization of language as rooted in a specific locus, to its deterritorialization, to a shift from the language itself to its usage by an individual. The practical part of the article focuses on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Americana” (2013). The scientific reflection refers to the analysis of the personality of the immigrants, who are the main characters of the novel, and the changes they experience when moving
to a new country. The aim of the article is to study the ways of self-formation of foreigners in the context of their language self-identification. The language regime is present in the work on several important levels: preservation of the Igbo and resistance to the total dominance of the English language, linguistic assimilation of immigrants, assertion of the foreigner’s linguistic identity, language as a component of structural racism.
Linguistic assimilation of immigrants causes them to abandon their native language, especially when it comes to migrants who speak the language of the country of settlement and, accordingly, speak to their children only in the language of a receiving country. At the same time, the novel “Americana” conveys the protagonist’s return to her own way of speaking, that is, Nigerian English. This shift signals her resistance to the complete negation of her identity in favor of the expectations and norms
of the dominant group.
In general, language is important for the formation of immigrant identity. The sensitivity of residents to pronunciation as well as to the level of command of the community’s language often causes alienation of the foreigner and a prejudiced attitude towards him/her. Therefore, immigrants try to get rid of labeling through language. They imitate the accents and pronunciation of the specific locus of their settlement. However, the main character of the novel “Americana” declares a new understanding of linguistic identity, which is closely related to the modern positioning of immigrants as those who are not ashamed of their
difference, but on the contrary, respect their difference and insist on it.
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