DeColonizing the Mind Themes

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Language as Culture

The first chapter is largely dedicated to the idea that language is not only a means of communication but also a method for carrying culture. Language, in other words, the author argues, is cultural. Particular languages create and sustain—or, to borrow Ngũgĩ's terminology, “carry”—particular cultures. In turn, culture “carries” particular value systems and perspectives on the self and the world. It is impossible to think about culture without thinking about language, or to think about language without thinking about culture. Thus, Ngũgĩ writes that, “Culture is almost indistinguishable from the language that makes possible its genesis, growth, banking, articulation and indeed its transmission from one generation to the next” (15). Without language, passed down from one generation to the next, culture withers and dies.

In essence, Ngũgĩ argues that this is what is happening to newly independent—or “independent,” Ngũg...

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This section contains 2,184 words
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Buy the DeColonizing the Mind Study Guide
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