The Challenge of Mathias's Language in The Interpreters

Mohamed Dellal, Mohamed I University, Oujda, Morocco

Note 3 to the author's "The Interpreters' Cultural Politics, Or Soyinka's Postcolonial Otherness"

We have to know that Mathias is the only uneducated character made to speak this language despite the fact that Dehinwa╣s mother and aunt, end Egbo╣s aunt have all had their speeches narratised for them by the narrating agent to cover up for the possible inaccuracies they may make. It is also possible to see this as an attempt to overcome the problem of having to further break down the language spectrum by bringing into focus another "mesolect" or "isolect" spoken in this multilingual Nigerian environment. By swinging between acrolect and basilect, Mathias would, then be an authentic "isolect" user, but rather a stereotypical case representative of a class of "overseers directing manual labor" in the Nigerian administrative job market; that is a class of Nigerians who have to rub their shoulders with the elite, and therefore, have to forge their way, linguistically, albeit in a distorted fashion. Mathias like a class of Nigerians, may have had some schooling or none at all; but he is supposed to understand the language that the likes of Sagoe (educated class) speak to him (Mathias has even to suffer long hours of "dirged" lectures on a topic on Voidancy of which he could not make heads or tails (see pp: 71-74).


discourseov Casablanca Conference