Uniform TitleModern Guatemalan Mayan literature in cultural context: bilanguaging in the literary works of bilingual Mayan authors
NameKahn, Hana Muzika (author), Walker, Janet (chair), Marcone, Jorge (internal member), Pinto, César (internal member), Martin, Laura (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Maya authors--Guatemala--Criticism and interpretation,
Mayan literature--History and criticism,
Guatemalan literature--History and criticism
DescriptionMy dissertation examines the revival of written Mayan language literature in Guatemala since 1980 - a literature created by Mayan authors who write in Mayan languages and also in Spanish. I explore the impact of socio-political context on the choice of literary language, and review how these bilingual authors express their world view and culture through their use of language-specific vocabulary, syntax and style in their literary texts. Bilanguaging in their texts in each language is an epistemological statement, and evidence of a dialogical and aesthetic communicative process of social transformation.
In Guatemala, new written Mayan language literature has developed since the political conflicts of 1954-1996, and follows a long tradition of oral literature, pre-colonial glyph writing and early colonial alphabetic writing, with characteristic themes, genres and stylistic features. I describe the contemporary linguistic situation, the movement to preserve Mayan languages in writing and the corresponding need for Mayan-language literacy. I also discuss the need for translation into Spanish, as a lingua franca that both Ladino readers and speakers of different Mayan languages can access, and also as the only language that has been taught in schools.
I evaluate recent transcriptions of Mayan oral literature and their translations into Spanish to show how their themes and styles form a foundation for written literature. I then analyze bilanguaging in the works of three authors: Humberto Ak'abal (K'iche'), Gaspar Pedro González (Q'anjob'al) and Victor Montejo (Jakaltek) who write in Mayan K'iche', Q'anjob';al, and Popb'al Ti' and who themselves re-write/translate their works into Spanish. This process of writing in two languages itself reflects the dual world views the authors inhabit. I compare the Spanish and Mayan language texts to demonstrate lexical and syntactic asymmetry, and show how the Spanish text includes Mayan lexical borrowings, syntactic structures and stylistic features in order to foreground the Mayan voice in the Spanish text.
I conclude by discussing the significance and the viability of this emerging literature as an expression of cultural linguistic rights and de-colonial epistemological transformation in the socio-political context of Guatemala.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 260-287).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.