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Alai And The Linguistic Politics Of Internal Diaspora

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Chapter Summary

Alai is one of the most prominent authors writing fiction set in historic Tibet. By presenting the loaf as a sort of modern-day oracle bone, the story treats the huai hua blossoms as a symbol of both the old mans nostalgic attachment to the past and the younger mans orientation toward the future. To the extent that the baking of the bread functions as a symbol of translation, the random pattern of ridges that forms on the loafs surface can be compared to the subtle traces. This chapter examines several examples of these sorts of figurative &t;ridges&t; in Alai's works, treating these textual ripples as symptoms of Alai's attempt to negotiate between two different hometown spaces and their respective languages. The lyrics, which Alai cites in the chapter, are from an actual song, and this interweaving of Chinese and Tibetan turns out to have a very specific history.

Keywords: Alai's texts; Chinese ethnic minority; huai hua blossoms; linguistic traces



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