IAWE 2017 Day 2, Session 2: P.A. Cruz “Language Studies and History: The Discourses of Memory, Forgetting, and Communal Politics”

Please note: This post is a live blog and as such is only lightly edited. Please pardon any errors.

Problematiz[ing] history as text, with the goal to investigate how readings of the past are legitimized.

8:48: This is such a powerful statement. If we just accept the received history, then we accept with it all the biases, inaccuracies, incongruities, and assumptions that come with them. What makes this problematic is that the all history is ideologically fraught because it is a retelling of the past.

What is history, anyway? It’s a combination of a retelling of the past PLUS an evaluation of the facts of that telling. That is, it’s a combination of telling and evaluating.

8:52: This is a powerful reinterpretation of history and its importance in education. And, it is through language that history’s power is unlocked. This means that there’s a linkage between linguistics and history that can be leveraged to better discharge the mission of the university and to instill critical abilities in our students. For example, Presenter Cruz showed how history and language are linked through the rapid rise of the tokens “salvage” and “ingat” during the martial law period in the Philipines in the 1970’s. For example, the English term salvage has seen extended beyond its original meaning of “to rescue” to mean “to find a corpse.”

Tag questions allow us to negotiate meanings–to accept, reject, or modify.

8:59: I never thought of tag questions this way. The presenter is using a systemic functional linguistics in her analysis of revisionist history. What she found was that the author of the revisionist texts purposefully used non-negotiable clauses, those that wouldn’t accept tag questions, to create a binding discourse for the reader. The facts cannot be seen as being open to interperation.

Revisionism is a linguistic slight of hand, a trick of text through sophisticated deployment of grammar.


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