Communication across cultures: ideological implications of Sam Selvon’s linguistic inventiveness

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Abstract

In the postcolonial context, language represents one of the crucial tools of cultural communication and is therefore often a subject of heated discussion. Since language constitutes the framework of cultural interaction, postcolonial authors often challenge the privileged position of Standard English within their writing by modifying and substituting it with new forms and varieties. The Trinidad-born writer Sam Selvon belongs to a handful of Caribbean authors who initiated linguistic experiments in the context of Caribbean literature and is considered one of the first Caribbean writers to employ dialect in a novel. His 1956 novel The Lonely Londoners reflects the possibilities of vernacular experimentation and thus communicates the specific experience of a particular cultural group in an authentic way.

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