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Title: The role of dialects in Anthony Burgess's 'Abba Abba'
Authors: Cassola, Arnold
Keywords: Dialect literature, English -- History and criticism
Burgess, Anthony, 1917-1993. Abba Abba -- Criticism and interpretation
Issue Date: 1993
Publisher: University of Malta
Citation: Cassola, A. (1993). The role of dialects in Anthony Burgess's 'Abba Abba'. Journal of Anglo-Italian Studies 3, 220 -228.
Abstract: For Anthony Burgess, novel writing is not merely an exercise in creativity, unbridled fantasy and intellectual freedom; it can also be one of his ways of getting back at those people who made life difficult for him. For him, novel writing also constitutes a practical way of displaying his fascination for languages and for the power to communicate by means of languages. Carol M. Dix states: '( ... ) Burgess is one of the few authors writing today in England who makes the fullest use of the raw materials of writing, that is the words themselves. His linguistic explorations or experiments make him at once one of our most adventurous writers; ( ... ),. Burgess not only makes use of languages which are really existent; he also tends to create new linguistic systems and to make his characters speak these fictitious languages. His 1977 novel ABBA ABBA is no exception to the Burgesian rule regarding multi-language use. Though the novel is obviously written in English, one comes across the odd Latin expression (e.g. o ave Eva (page 95); Aspeeeerges meeeeee (page 107); Mater Dolorosa (page 119»; French or Italian sentences (e.g. Il taut cultiver notreJardin (page 8); Madame, vous ne me verrezplus, etc. (page 270); Parla bene it signore fa nostra lingua (page 130); Come ti chiami ? (page 36); Un altro sonetto... Su un altro gatto ? (page 48»; the Scottish dialect (Aye, aye, ye rest yon heid the noo, yer grace (page 36) ) as well as a mixture of Franco-Italian (e.g. Altessa, cara pricipessa, mon ami est souffrant, la sua inamorata non, ne, sa fiancee, vous comprenez, aime un altro (page 27) ). A particular feature of this novel is his creation of not just one, but two fictitious or semi..fictitious languages. These are what I have termed ltalish and Engliano.
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