The assertion of Culturalism through Language
This paper explores the language as a source of identity in the collection of short stories of unaccustomed Earth by Jampa Lahiri. Culture and language are hand in glove with each other and they both influence and help each other in creating identity. In these short stories, Indian Americans are struggling to America. While staying at America, they are not ready to accept English language and feeling satisfied with Bengali language because Bengali is predominant native tongue of Bengalians which is associated to Bengali culture and also a source of identity for bengalians. Bengali culture judged through their Bengali language. Although Indian Americans speak English language yet they are conscious about their cultural language and attempt to teach Bengali understand the traditions and norms of Indian and identity is deeply rooted. Culture influences are the source of identity. Immigrants after their migration in America, adopted American customs and life style but they are not ready to their rejection of English language is that language is a source of identity and, at any rate; they want to associate with their own culture.
The present research work is quantitative in nature. On quantitative level, the present work gives the frequency and of the words in another language in Pakistani African English Fiction and the importance of the lutural language. The data consists of all the urdvised and Bengali words is extracted from the Pakistani and African English Fiction unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, Twillight in Dehli by Ahmad Ali, Kartography by Kamila Shamshie and Things Fall A part by Chunua Aacheba. The inter relationship between language, identity and cultural difference is described by applying Hall’s theory in which he says that language can embody the cultural difference. Hall suggests that language is a signifying practice. “It is symbolic practice which gives meaning or expression to the idea of belonging to a national culture”.
All the words have been taken manually from the novels and short stories and their interpretation has been done according to the connection of language, identity and culture difference. The whole Pakistani English Fiction speaks for its impact of ardvised words as Urdu words are found in adundance and seem to have been used by author for a certain purpose and the purpose is that language is a source of identity.
This paper explores the language as a source of identity in the ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ by Jhump Lahiri. Language plays a major role and is a part and parcel in the assertion of culturalism. There is no language without culture and no culture without language. Language influences culture and culture influences language. They both are hand in glove with each other. Language is socially constructed and it is not stable. It changes continuously and according to culture it adopts its meaning. There are many words which have different meanings in different culture.1 Like the word “quality” means is “it works” in American culture but in Korea “quality” word is used for the meaning of “It’s brand new” bear in Korea newness matters a lot and the timeless long lasting quality is important. In Japan, “quality” word used with different meanings and the meaning is “it’s perfect zero defects”. Japanese culture emphasizes the importance of striving for perfection. That’s why; according to culture quality meaning is different in Japanese. In China, quality means, “It gives status”. Quality is single one words but it is used with different meanings in various countries because of different cultures. Like “quality” word there are others many words which means different things in different places.2 One word has different meanings in different cultures. The meanings of words are constructed according to the culture of that place. That’s why many Pakistani writers used Urdu words or words in other languages like Punjabi and Bengali while writing in English language. It does not mean that words which they used in other languages have no alternate in English but they intentionally and consciously used Urdu word to show Pakistani culture. Although, by using that words in English, Pakistani culture can be described, yet Urdu, Bengali or Punjabi words have close association with that culture which English words can’t be described or explained the Pakistani culture clearly.
As Kalsoom Qaiser says:
Pakistani writers writing in English language incorporate many words from Urdu, Punjabi or other regional languages. They have also inverted new words out of necessity or cultural needs or borrowed words and used them in their writing. Many writers and poets like Kamila Shamsi, Mohsin Hamid, Jamil Ahmad, Taufiq Rafat and Moni Mohsin used words from their local language and culture. (14825)
Culture influence language and language changes due to cultural implications and tradition. That’s why language is a source of identity. The relationship between language culture and identity is very strong. Culture and language exist due to each other. In the absence of one things, the existence of either thing is impossible and language is a way to identity the culture and a source of analysis identity. Keeping this viewpoint in vision, it will be continent to say that, the culture, language and identity are interlinked with one another. They have close relationship and make strong the existence of others and interconnected with one another.
This paper explores the Indian-American families who have move to the United States and are struggling to adjust and to fit in with Americans but often there is tension between parents and children of assertion the culturalism through language. Language plays a basic role in the culture and have strong and powerful influence of culture. With the different traditions and customs of a particular culture of specific country. The new words or the word which are used with different meanings in another culture, make sense with different meanings and the meanings are constructed according to that special culture and became a source of identity.
Exploring the connection and relationship between language, culture and identity, this paper highlights the references and quotes which are extracted from the “Unaccustomed Earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri. The quotes are strong and powerful arguments to make connection and to highlight the relationship (these between three) language, culture and identity. Cultural identify development is possible just because of language. For the culture and identity, they both have to take support of language. The existence and connection between culture and identity without language is like a boat and sea without sailor. So the boat and sea are meaningless and useless without sailor, the culture and identity although they both are interlinked and interconnected with each other, yet their link and connection is impossible without language. In the first story named “unaccustomed Earth” the importance of Bengali language is clearly described as follows:
It was her mother who would have been the helpful one, taking over the kitchen, singing songs to Akash and teaching him Bengali nursery rhymes, throwing loads of laundry into the machine. (Lahiri 6).
These lines throw lights on the Bengali language to Bengali which is predominate language for Bengalis. They are immigrates and still they are making struggle to teach their children Bengali. Although they are not forcing the children to speak Bengali instead of English yet. They feel happy and try their best to teach Bengali as well. The question is that they migrated themselves and nobody force and urge them for immigration. But after immigration why they don’t want to be fit in with American culture and speak English language’. What is the problem in adopting American culture and in speaking English language? If they don’t want to adopt and accept the American culture why immigrates? The answer is that maybe they immigrated? The answer is that maybe they immigrated due to make strong their financial condition, to save themselves from political conditions or there may be many reasons for their migration. They migrated for the benefits not for changing their culture. They try to stick with precious language because through language one’s identity can be judged. (Cula) language is unstable and its unstability is due to culture changing. Language denotes special culture and language is a source of identity of specific culture. That’s why, they do not force their children to speak Bengali but feel pleasure and struggle to maintain their own cultural language due to the assertion of their precious culture. The other quotation which is also derived from the same book of the same writer name “Unaccustomed Earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri.
“Being the only two Bengalis in the tour group, naturally thajd struck up a conversation. They started eating together, sitting next to one another on the bus. Because of their common appearance and language, people mistook them for husband and wife”. (Lahiri 9).
This reference is also a strong argument to make connection between language culture and identity. Mrs. Bengali and Ruma’s father, they both are immigrants to completely strangers to each other. First of all they make relation and be friend with each other just because the same language and some culture of Bengali. Due to Bengali language they come closer even they started eat together, sitting next to one another and judged one another because of the Bengali language which is the identity of Bengali culture. Secondly, people mistake them for husband and wife become of their common appearance and language. Through the usage of language people underestimate about them to be husband and wife. They both are migrated but consecrate with each other by using their culture Bengali language because it is a source of their identification for Bengali culture. There is a huge passage in the first story of Jhumpa Lahiri’s book “unaccustomed Earth” about the language association with identity.
By now Akash had forgotten the little Bengali Ruma had taught him when he was little. After the started speaking in full sentence English had taken over, and she lacked the discipline to stick to Bengali. Besides, it was one thing to coo at him in Bengali, to point to this or that and tell him the corresponding words. But it was another to be authoritative; Bengali had never been a language in which she felt like an adult. Her own Bengali was slipping from her. Her mother had been strict, so much so that Ruma had never spoken to her in English. But her father didn’t mind. On the rare occasions Ruma used Bengali anymore, when an aunt or uncle called from Calcutta to wish her a Happy Bijoya or Akash a Happy Birthday, she tri9pped over words, mangled tenses. (Lahiiri 12).
This long passage is a close and clear. Connection of Bengalis people with the Bengali language which is predominant for them even after their immigration to United States. They are settled down in America and while adopting America culture and language they are also in the quest and search of their own Bengali language which is a way of their Bengali identification. Ruma teach English, Bengali words to her son Akash to keep him in touch with Bengali culture. Ruma is not strict to Akash to speak Bengali language but wishes him to teach and speak Bengali but Ruma’s mother was very strict regards Bengali language even she did not allow Ruma to speak to her in English. Her relatives also wish Ruma and Akash’s birthday by saying “Happy Bijoya” which is Bengali word which is used to wish a happy birthday. After immigration her parents and her own teaching Bengali to Akash explores that they want to stick with Bengali culture and Bengali language is an identity source. Therefore, they used Bengali words and try also to teach their new generation Bengal/i. so that they also may be able to identify Bengali culture through Bengali language and adopt that culture. In the same story this concept is described as follows:
Akash modded. He picked up a miniature plastic dinosaur, forcing it into the ground.
“What color is it? Her father asked. “Red”.
“And in Bengali?”
“And neel!” Akash cried out, pointing to the sky. (Lahiri 45).
In this conversation between grandfather and grandson the importance of Bengali language is described clearly even while staying in American culture. In the presence of English language, and American culture the usage of Bengali language to adopt Bengali culture is very disturbing grandson says to his grandfather that it color is red but grandfather reminds him and question that what is the for word red color in Bengali language. Then after his grandson’s answer to “laal”, he appreciates him and say “good”. As far as Ruma’s Pather mean Akash grandfather’s adoption of English culture is concerned, he used to wear American dress like: “a baseball cap that said Pompeii, brown cotton pants and a sky blue polo shirt, and a pair of white leather sneakers. Even when he came for his daughter Ruma’s house, Ruma was struck by the degree to which her father resembled an American in his old age”. (Lahiri 11). He himself adopted and accepted American like life style but why he wants his grandson to he want his grandson to understand Bengali culture and language was a source to understand that culture and was also an only one way of identification Bengali culture. In another place, after teaching Bengali language he used to listen properly for the satisfaction that he is learning Bengali language or not? The quote which is followed is given from the story “Unaccustomed Earth”.
“Not so soon. These things take time, Akash. Do you remember what I taught you this morning?”.
And Akash recited his numbers in Bengali from one to ten. (Lahiri 49).
Ruma’s father attempt to teach and introduce him to Bengali language is to prone that although they accepted the life style of Americans yet he did not ready to accept the language. The reason behind not accepting Bengali language is only one that language is a source of identity and Bengali language denotes to Bengali culture. In order to maintain their Bengali culture. They wanted their children to speak in Bengali and prefer their own cultural language which is Bengali. There are also many other quotes in the book “unaccustomed earth” by Jhumpa Lihire which shows the attempt and struggle of parents to teach and convince their children to speak Bengali language. They migrated from India to America but are not ready to accept that culture and say goodbye to their previous culture which is depicted and described through the language of that culture. They elders are more conscious about their culture and do not ready to accept any other culture in any rate. That’s why, they were more strict about the language of their culture like in the story named unaccustomed earth”.
“Her first impulse was to shared it, but she stopped herself, staring at the Bengali letters her mother had once tried and failed to teach Ruma when she was a girl”. (Lahiri 59).
In Ruma’s childhood her mother used to teach Ruma Bengali words even Ruma have to face a lot of difficulties while learning. Now, Ruma herself is a mother she also like her mother try her child to speak Bengali language just to maintain her Bengali culture. In this way, they are shifting culture by tool of race continuously.
According, he called my father shyamal da, always addressing him in the polite form, and he called my mother “Boudi”, which is how Bengalis are supposed to address an older brother’s wife, instead of (being) using her first name, Apasna. (60) Lahire.
This quotation is derived from the second story named “Hell-Heaven” of “unaccustomed earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri. Pranab Chakraborty whole was not technically the younger brother of writer’s father but due to fellow Bengali, he used to stay with that family. Pranab Kaku lived with them because of the same Bengali culture and called writer’s father ‘shyamal da’ which is Bengali word meaning by big brother and the writers mother ‘Boudi” which is used in Bengali for the older brother’s wife. They both and Pranab Kaku were immigrants. They used Bengali while addressing or speaking with one another. They were satisfied with cultural language through which they were identified by Bengali. They don’t prefer English language which was the special and prominent part of American culture because of the assertion of culturalism is only possible through language. Language is a symbol of specific culture and identity. People are judged by language which culture they belong and they themselves identify others by their language like in the story named “Hell-Heaven” of Jhumpa Lahiri:
“Moreover, Pranab Kaku had overhead my mother speaking to me in Bengali, telling me that I couldn’t buy any issue of Archie at the coop”. (Lahiri 61).
This reference shows that language is a way to identify other. Mother and daughter were telling in Bengali language. Pranab Kaku listened their conversation and their usage of Bengali words and believed that they belong to Bengali culture. That’s why they came closer to them and began to live in their home with them.
“I called Deborah by her first name as my parents did, but Pranab to call my father Shya Malda and my mother Boudi, something with which Deborah gladly complied”.
Pranab Kaku’s wife name Deborah. 0pranab Kaku not only called the writer’s mother and father by using Bengali words but also taught his wife to call them by using Bengali language like “Boudi” and “Shya Malda” because Boudi and Shya Malda words are just associated with Bengali culture and no othr culture used “Boudi” for the older’s brother’s wife and Shyamal do for the husband’s brother. The words like “Boudi” and “Shya Mal Da” can be changed by English words step-sister and step brother but by if the same words used in English, it does not show the Bengali culture which is their identity. Therefore, the usage of Bengali instead of English even staying in America is a powerful argument that language is a source of identity and denotes specific culture. Pranab Kaka was so conscious in speaking Bengali that he taught to his wife to address in Bengali and also many words in Bengali like he taught her to say “Khub Bhalo” and “aacha”, “Boudi” and “Shya Mal da” he was curious and conscious that due to his interest in Bengali language, his wife also to learn other Bengali words from others like she asked how to say this or that is Bengali and once she asked what is the meant of “Asobbo” in Bengali. Pranab Kaku’s struggle to teach Bengali language was just to convey their cultural language to their children (because) the taught his wife because mother is a first school in which children learn a lot and mother’s lap is bestier academy through which child groom and they learn how to spend their next life.
Now a day, many Pakistani writers take support Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali words to convey their basic roots of culture which is not possible through English writing. The words which have proper equilibrium in English are used in another language consciously because that words are specific for special culture and denotes the proper and continent meaning according to that culture. Although that culture can also be depicted and described by using English words, yet the basic culture is defined by its own cultural language.
Ahmad Ali in his novel named by “Twillight in Delhi” also used many word in other languages while writing in English. The purpose behind using that words in another language is to described specific culture through the specific cultural language.
Baumgardner (1993) argues: Urduised word in Pakistani English give it a linguistic and cultural identity and it is more evident in the language number of loan words from Urdu and the other regional languages which have made their way more common in Pakistani English. The influence of udrdvization seems all pervasive in Pakistani English (42).
The use of urdvised words in Pakistani English has rendered it a linguistic and cultural identity. Ahmad Ali uses Urdvish words because he wants to recreate a word which is close, vivid and visual.
“The was an old man, ‘said Saeed Hassan, ‘and used to live in Chitli Qabar. Every day he used to go out for a walk via Jama Masjid and making a round of the Chandi Chowk, come home via Lal Kaun and Chaori Bazar”. (Ali 201).
In this passage, the word like “Chitli Qabar”, “Jama Masjid”, “ChandniChowk” and “Chaori Bazar” are the specific for Delhi. Through the usage of such language Ahmad Ali depicts the keen atmosphere of Delhi city. These words can be replaced by other words but then the culture of Delhi culture do not described thoroughly. Keeping these words in mind, it can be said that language is a source of identity and the rong the language use the culture of specific country can be understood clearly. Ahmad Ali also used Urdu words like “Palamkin,” Dolhan, Dolha, Mardana, Zahana, Veranda, neg and also other words like that which have proper alternate in English but the Urdvised words clearly indicate the deep impace of that culture for which they are used specifically. To speak rich cultural connotation and built strong lihk to Delhi society, he used the replaced words. He usage of urdvised words seems more dominant aspect of his writing to depict the tradition and customs of Delhi culture. To describe the Pakistanization of English language representing the norms of its country, he used urdvised words except choosing English.
The day of the wedding arrived at last. In the morning the bridge groom’s clothes came from the birde’s house, a sherwani of gold brocade, a silk shirt, a turbm, silk handkerchiefs, a white paijama with a screening red paijema string, shoes with flowers embroidered on them ingold; and other things like buttoms, attar, collyrium, etc. These clothes were strewn over with parched fluffy rice. There were also the sehra and baddhi in a separate tray. (Ali 170).
In this passage there are 5 to 6 words which are chosen by the writer in another language like Sherwani, Paijama, attar, sehra, baddhi and tray. These words are used in Urdu language instead of English because he wants to recreate a world which is real, vivid and close to the actual traditional ways of old Delhi. Delhi culture is depicted through the language. This, it can be said that language is a source of identity. One’s can be identified and judged by the language which he selected for speaking. If ne speak in English language.
He would be considered as American, if some chooses Bengali language, the first thought which will come into mind will be that he is Bengali and Urdu speakers will be considered as Pakistani by the selection of language. In every language, there are specific words which are special for that culture and in another culture it mean something else. So, language is a weapon to judge stranger persons without raising question to them. This idea is explained in detail in the story named “A choice of accommodations” by Jhumpa Lahiri.
He never enjoyed his visits to Delhi, his broken Bengali of no use in that city. It made him miss Calcutta, where all is relatives lived, where he was used to going. (16 Lahiri).
Amit was immigrant from Bengali to America. Often he used to go Delhi but he never enjoyed while visiting there because of the difference of language. His broken Bengali was of no used there because he was not able to speak and talk with anyone. Through the language he was introduce in Delhi as stranger without telling anybody. Because was different it made him miss Calcutta. Bengali language was the symbol and a source of identity of Delhisit. He knew that he is not enjoying because of his broken Bengali. Delhi has deep concerned with Bengali and is a source of identification. The sentence I never enjoyed because of broken Bengali in Delhi clearly highlights the importance of language in Delhi culture. The other passage from this chapter which shows the importance of language which is associated with particular culture and denotes its identity is:
His parents had not even met her. He was aware of what an insult it was to them. For all their liberal western ways he knew they wanted him to marry a Bengali girl, raised and educated as he had been”. (Lahiri 112).
This is about the marriage discussion of Jared and Felicia. Jared wanted to marry an American girl named Felicia but his parents were not ready to accept that proposal. The word “Insult” here. Shows the hate of Bengalines against American. Jared days that it was insulted for his parents if he married an American girl because they want him to marry a Bangali Girl, raised and educated as he had been. Their parents desire for their son to marry a Bengali girl was because after marriage mother has to do a lot of work in the growth of children. To teach children. Bengali language, which is a source of identity of Bengali culture, (mother herself) it essential for mother to know about that language. How its possible to teach without knowing. They sent their son in American for higher study not to endanjor their Bengali culture which is expected after marriage with American girl. That’s why their son’s marriage with an American was insulted for them and they were not agree to accept that proposal. In the third story the importance of cultural language is also described through the behavior of parents and children.
For years they had been compared to other Bengali children, told about gold medals brought back from science fairs, colleges that offered full scholarships. Sometimes, sudha’s father clip newspapers articles about unusually gifted adolescents—the boy who finished a Ph.D at twenty, the girl who went to standford at twelve and tape them to the refrigerator. (Lahiri 130).
Sudha and her brother Rahul was sent to America for the higher study because of their parents comparisons them with other Bengali children. They immigrates and behind their immigration, the aim was the desire for higher studies. They were grown up according to the Bengali culture and Bengali language which their mother used to speak with them like SAudha reminds her mothers while comforting her (mother) son Rahul by singing Bengali songs. Sudha and Rahul speak English fluently yet they were conscious about Bengali language which is denoted to Bengali culture. As when Rahul came to Sudha’s house after her marriage, his way of dressing and meeting to Sudha was just like Bengali culture.
“Hi, Didi” he said when she opened the door, still using traditional term of respect their parents had taught him”. (161).
His calling her “did” not sister after being in America, shows that although sister they taught English but not accepted that language in their way of addressing their close relations. In the same story named “Only Goodness” there is a passage about Rahul’s speaking in English language which show that language play particular role in the traditions and norms of a specific culture and also a source of identity.
“It helped that had been born in India, that he was English and not American, drinking tea, not coffee, and saying “Zed” not “Zee” superficial things that allowed her parents to relate to him”. (152).
It was about Rahul that he was an English because he know English very well but not American because but he adopted Bengali culture and used to say “Zed” instead of pronouncing “Zee” like Americans. He used to pronounce “Zed” because of their Bengali culture and language attachment with him. Not only he himself spoke Bengali but also wanted their children to speak Bengali because of Bengali associations with Bengali culture. Like her nephew called him “Mamu” and he raised question from her sister about the way of addressing her son to their mother and father.
“Say good night to Mamu”, she said.
“What does he call them?” Rahul asked
She hesitated, though the answer was not something she had to search for. “Dadu and Dadi”.
“Just like we did,” he said, his voice softening.
The conversation between brother and sister highlights the importance of cultural language because of its association with the identity of that culture. Sudha was hesitated by telling her brother that he does not call them by “Dadu and Dadi”. Her hesitation and the word “Mamu”. Describes their interest with Bengali language. Although they studied in America bill were concerned with Bengali language instead of America because Bengali was close to their cultural traditions and norms and the relationship among culture, language and identity is very strong. Come what may, nobody wants to forget and demolish one’s identity. In the fifth story named “Nobody’s Business” usage of the Bengali language and its importance is described.
“I am going to be called Sang Mashi” she told him excitedly explaining that Mashi was the Bengali word for “Aunt”. The word sounded strange on her lips. She spoke Bengali infrequently. (1991).
Song was a Bengali girl and infrequently spoke Bengali but it does not mean that she forgotten Bengali. In her excitement, she said she was going to be called Sang Mashi which is Bengali word. Although she did not speak Bengali mostly yet she wanted to be called by Bengali word. Bengali language is associated with Bengali culture and culture association and her attachment with her culture convinced her and she wished to be addressed by “Mashi” instead of aunt.
“For Christmas, he was invited to an aunts house in Buffalo, as usual”. (192).
The language is not stable. Its meaning changes continuously with the cultural changings. One word is used with one meaning and is used for another thing is another culture. Like in the story which is named by “Nobody’s business writer uses the word “Buffalo” for a country name but buffalo meaning something else in Pakistan. There Buffalo is the name of a country but in Pakistan buffalo is used for an animal. In both place because the different cultures the meaning are changed. Thus, it can be said that language is source of identity and language also has deep and keen relationship with culture. In the book named by “things fall apart” by Chinua Achele, the writer used (Urdu words) the words in another language which shows that culture in proper way like.
After the death of Ekwefi’s second child, okonkwo had gone to a medicine man, who was also a diviner of die Afa Orade, the inquira what was amiss. This man told him that the child was an ogbanje, one of these wicked children who, when they died, entered their mother’s wombs to be born again. (Achebe 66).
“Agbala doo-o-o! Agbala ekeneo-o-o! CM ntgbar madu ubosi ndu ya nato y auto abluo-o-o!……..”( Achebe 89).
“Agbala [email protected] Umuachi! Agbala ekene unuo-o-o-or. It was just as Ekwefi had thought. The priestess was not saluting the willage of umuachi”. (Achebe 87).
Her Achebe uses many words even complete sentences in other language while writing in English. His choice to select to select these sentences in another language is to describe that culture in detail and by using the cultural language a clear picture is captured of that culture instead of English. These words and sentences have proper equivalent and alternates in English which can be replaced by that sentences. Through the English language culture can also be depicted but not in vivid manners. The words which are associated with specific culture can create a clear image of that culture. Achebe select the Igbo language to crate a clear, vivid and detail image of the African culture. Yet by using English, Achebe faces a problem. How can he present the African heritage and culture in a language that can never described it adequately? Achebe solve this problem by incorporating Igbo words, language and concepts into an English text about his culture. For representing the African culture Achebe used Igbo language because this language is the symbol and associated with African culture and also a source of identity the African culture.
In this story named “Once in a lifetime” which is one of the collection of stories of “Unaccustomed Earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri, people’s association with their cultural language is described in detail. They use the language which denotes their cultural and they are attached with their cultural language. They use the words in their own language or they use the accent of their cultural language unconsciously or consciously.
“We had dinner before we landed”. You replied, a faint accent present in your English, but not the strong accent our parents shared your voice had depend, no longer a child’s”. (Lahiri 232).
In this quote, two friends conversation with each other highlights the conflict between Bengali and English language. American uses English language and the Indian immigrant is habitual of Bengali language. Indian boy and his mother are now in America and because of American culture they uses English language to fit in with Americans. The accent in Bengali in which the boys is converting to his friend while speaking English language. Although he is speaking English but the Bengali accent explores that he is Bengali speaking in English language. Its shows that through the usage of language one’s identity is judged. If not the language, the accent of that language can also highlights the identification of the culture. In this quote, the mother’s teaching her child the Bengali language and accent throws light on the importance of that people language which is associated with their culture.
“You’re going to get sick, kaushik, always wandering outside like that, “my mother said. She continued to speak to you in Bengali, despite your consistently English replies”. (Lahiri 243).
This reference is also extracted from the same story which is named by the mother. “Once in a lifetime”. Here the conversation between Kaushik and of Kaushik’s friend is a clear image of the importance and association of the language with the culture. The Americans supposed to speak English because english language is denoted to America and Indian culture is described through the usage of Bengali language. Kaushik is American that’s why continuously is replying in English language despite speaking in Bengali because the mother Kaushik’s friend is asking questions in Bengali. Kaushik was answering in English, the mother could also ask questions in English. If the mother was questioning in Bengali, the boy could reply in Bengali but they both one questioning and replying in the language which is associated with their culture. Nobody is ready to accept the culture of other. Therefore, they are consistently speaking in the language which is associated with their culture and a source of identification with for Bengali culture.
“I would like for you to call me Mamoni”, she said in Bengali. Her voice was of a lower pitch than my mother’s, with a faint huskiness that was oddly calming. “Do you have any objection to that?” She asked this kindly smiling, wary of my reaction, and I shook my head, not smiling back. “Please, she said, this time in English, motioning to the chair. (Lahiri 260).
This quote is given from the “Year’s End” by Jhumpa Lahiri. Here the dialogues between Bengalian and American women are showing their satisfaction with their personal cultural language. One is requesting to be called as “Mamoni” which is English word but she is saying this in Bengali language because she knew that if she said this in English language to be called by English name, her request world not be accepted. But on the other hand, the other woman although accepted her request yet she was not look like to be happy by calling her by English name. Almost they both are conflicting about language and do not agree to deny their own language because language is an identity and they can’t sacrifice their culture by accepting another language. They both are sharing culture in wearing, cooking and living style but they can’t share their language and the cause behind this is that it may demolish their cultural identity.
“He had always possessed an inventive streak when it came to words, writing Bengali poem on weakened and reading them aloud to my mother. From her comments I gathered that the poems are witty”. (Lahiri 262).
“I didn’t reply to this “very tasty”, I said instead in Bengali, referring to the food, something my mother had taught me to say after eating in the homes of other people. I got up to bring my plate to the kitchen”. (Lahiri 263).
These both quotes are extracted from the same poem of Jhumpa Lahiri “Year’s End”. There are a lot of discussion about culture conflicting language. (Amere) English and Bengali are two major languages through which Lahisi highlighted the theme of language as identity. In the first quote, Aman is writing poetry after immigration in America. He writes the poem on weekends but the language he selects for writing is English Bengali instead of English. He should chose English language because now-a-days he belongs to American culture and English is suppose to write and describe the American culture.
His selection of Bengali language is for particular purpose. That’s why, despite writing in English he chooses Bengali language. Language is a source of identity of Bengali culture. He is Bengali and his association with Bengali culture urge him to write in Bengali language despite English even living in America because Bengali language denotes to Bengali culture and is described clearly through the use of cultural language. In the next quote, an Indian friend reply his American friend in Bengali language instead of English after eating in his house. He did not said him “very tasty” which is English word and denotes to American culture but reply him in Bengali which her mother used to teach him in his childhood. Her mother used to teach him in Bengali because the understanding of Bengali culture is impossible without learning the Bengali language. They both are friends but to maintain their cultural identity use their language which is associated that particular culture. Due to empower the identity through their cultural language, the speak their own language although they can speak and understand the language of each other.
“She spoke to me in Bengali, I to her in English, as had been the case the night before, I thought that my slack Americanized pronunciation would be lost on her, but she seemed to follow what I said”. (Lahiri 269).
This passage also explores the relationship between culture, language and identity. They are deeply rooted and hand in glove with one another. Everyone wants to be profound and familiar and have a particular identity. Nobody wants to lose his identity and everyone seems to stick with one’s culture and want to judged by one’s own personal identity and culture which is identified through the specific language of that specific culture. Therefore, they are speaking in the language which is specific to the culture and keep on maintaining to speak that language even after immigrating in another culture which hand different language for identification. Here in this reference girl is speaking continuously in Bengali while on the other hand boy is using English language. Although they are friends but due to friendship they are not ready to change the language because the changing in language can also be the changing and losing of cultural identity. Specific words are particular and specific for specific culture. One word has different meaning and is used for one thing but in another place its meaning are different and is used for different things. Language is not stable, it changes continuously with the cultural changing. Many Pakistani writers use another wording in another language to create the clear picture of that specific culture which is not described in detail by using another language. Like Kamila Shamshie said:
Every night, the Ghutnas gathered, and though there were interludes of severely, in the end every evenings, conversation was ultimately unchanging, Haalaat bohat kharab hain, they would say, again and again, as if English could not encompass just how bad the situation was; (Shamshi 318).
This reference is derived from the novel named “kartography” by Maila Shamsie to give the strong argument that language influence culture and culture is created through language. There the word “Chutnas” is with capital letter which is used for specific party in Karachi culture. Commonly the word ghutna word is of Punjabi language for “knee” but in Karachi it is name of a specific is describe and language is a source of identity and the sentence clear picture of Karachi culture. It could be described in English also but through the English language the culture of Karachi was not depicted completely. Kamila Shamshie selection of urdvised words is to point a clear picture of that culture which is not possible with English language.