Language in Dictee

Cha’s use of language throughout this work was particularly interesting to me. For one, she includes a mixture of poetry and calligraphy various times (I ironically read the characters in Japanese and not Chinese), which also contributed to the discontinuity of the work that made it difficult to follow when I initially tried to read it as one linear piece.

Language is often the most easily identified burden that comes to mind when thinking about immigration or foreign countries, but Cha seems to interpret the idea of language as more than just this outward form of communication. The quotation at the beginning of “Unfaithful to the Original” by Frantz Fanon that states, “ [language] means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization…” explained this idea well. Cha describes language, particularly in pages 45-49, as part of the complex shift in identity that the Korean’s faced when having their own culture taken away from them. On page 45, she writes, “mother tongue is your refuge. It is your home.”This oppression of culture and language that the Koreans faced reminded me of the idea of being an immigrant in your own land that we discussed with George Washington Gomez. Although they are not in Korea, they are in a community of Korean exiles in Manchuria, yet at the same time have Japanese culture being forced upon them. She also includes that while all the teachers are Korean, they speak Japanese even amongst each other, which shows the extent of the marginalization at the time.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: migrant

Leave a Reply