Caliban's Meaning: The Culture of Language

Document Type: Viewpoint

Author

Ohio University

Abstract

Drawing largely on Aidoo’s (1970) play, Anowa, as well as lived experiences, I argue on the philosophical flaws of Ashcroft’s (2009) claim that there is no inherent link between language and culture. This essay subsequently explores the implication of my argument on some transformational domains of English in particular though it has obvious applicability to the role of colonial languages in general. As one of the foremost postcolonial theorists, Ashcroft’s seeming departure from the postcolonial agenda he has pursued in his academic practice is striking to read. I consider as philosophically frail his claim in Caliban’s Voice that language has no intrinsic connections to the way of life of its speakers. Consequently, I find his succeeding position on the transformational value of English, in the postcolonial context, as equally requiring reassessment.

Keywords