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Empire of LanguageToward a Critique of (Post) colonial Expression$
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Laurent Dubreuil

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450563

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450563.001.0001

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(p.1) Prologue
Empire of Language

Laurent Dubreuil

, David Fieni
Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter foregrounds the colonial factor embedded in language, and how it can impose a situation on other people, set verbal traps, and ease people into customary jargon. In what this book calls a “critique of the power of language,” the chapter emphasizes how events, states, and individuals can alter established orders and existing connections in the world by means of a discourse that simultaneously describes and prescribes. It details the extent to which this study on enunciation and expression is built upon—through multiple genres and modes of discourse, particularly on colonization in the modern era, starting with France and moving overseas, and at the same time accounting for differences among them so that we are able to recognize that not all tones are of equal value and not all words correspond. The chapter asserts that variation exists, according to who utters the words—when, how, and where.

Keywords:   power of language, jargon, colonization, France, modern era, language variation

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