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English in Malaysia

Postcolonial and Beyond

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Hajar Abdul Rahim and Shakila Abdul Manan

The main thrust of this edited book is the development of Malaysian English (ME) as a new variety of English from the 1950s to the first decade of the 21st century. The book comprises nine chapters on different aspects of the variety based on original research.
The journey ME has taken as a postcolonial variety is discussed in terms of its linguistic development within the current frameworks of World Englishes (WE), particularly with regard to the evolution of new Englishes. Thus, the book discusses a range of ME linguistic and development issues such as lexis, phonology, modality, discoursal features, linguistic style and variation based on a variety of spoken, written, formal, informal, literary and non-literary language data. The findings from the studies contribute new knowledge on how ME has developed and also importantly, the realities and prospects of the variety as a dynamic and rich New English.
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The Linguistics of Creativity: Nativising Malaysian Postcolonial Creative Writings in English: Shakila Abdul Manan

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SHAKILA ABDUL MANAN

The Linguistics of Creativity: Nativising Malaysian Postcolonial Creative Writings in English

Introduction

Malaysian literature in English is still at its infancy as it began to flourish only after the Second World War. Essentially, it was the horrors of the Japanese Occupation and the shattering of “[t]he myth of Western invincibility” (De Souza in Quayum and Wicks 2001:2) that cultivated a new kind of national consciousness among a circle of young writers, mostly students in schools, colleges and later on the University of Malaya in Singapore (Quayum 2007a: 11). This group of writers used English as their vehicle to vent their anti-colonial feelings and to construct their own sense of self and identity in their creative writings. Such acts of defiance and resistance provided them the means to challenge the hegemony of imperial rule. These were the “first generation of writers”in both Malaysia and Singapore who were writing before Malaysia achieved her independence from the British in 1957 and Singapore from Malaysia in 1965. They included poets such as Wong Phui Nam and Edwin Thumboo (Quayum 2007a:11-12). Fired by nationalist sentiments and an emerging sense of selfhood, they (and others of that generation) envisaged the need for creative writing “to fuse a national feeling out of diverse ethnic loyalties” and to produce a “literature that spoke for the nation as a whole and not for specific ethnic groups… (and) to create a distinctive culture” (De Souza in Quayum...

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