Journal Article — The Emperor’s New Words: Language and Colonization — by David Gonzalez Nieto

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Abstract

Language is not normally considered a substantial element of policy-making. Through Frantz Fanon’s work the importance of language in the human spirit is explored and historical evidence of the use of language as a “weapon for colonization” is given. From Antonio de Nebrija, who in 1492 wrote the first Grammar Book of the Castilian Language–later known as Spanish–to the English invasion of Ireland, colonizers have understood the essential role of language in the process of “re-naming.” Such a process of “linguistic dispossession” causes what Frantz Fanon describes in his work Black Skin, White Masks as feelings of dependency and inadequacy. Those individuals have been deposed of their feelings, of their worlds, of their language, and without a language it is twice as hard to resist the occupation and re-build one’s identity. Nowadays, the US English movement advocates for a total colonization of every individual who does not belong to their standard and mainstream allocation of values and rewards.

Recommended Citation

Nieto, David Gonzalez. 2007. “The Emperor’s New Words: Language and Colonization.” Pp. 231-238 in Reflections on Fanon: The Violences of Colonialism and Racism, Inner and Global—Conversations with Frantz Fanon on the Meaning of Human Emancipation (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume V, Special Issue, 2007.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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