B(l)inding Wor(l)ds: Language narratives, genre boundaries and pushing barriers

Author: Raelke Grimmer

Grimmer, Raelke, 2021 B(l)inding Wor(l)ds: Language narratives, genre boundaries and pushing barriers, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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This thesis is an interdisciplinary creative writing and applied linguistics work consisting of a creative artefact and exegesis. The creative artefact is a work of creative nonfiction in the genre of language journalism exploring why Australia persists in perpetuating and prioritising a monolingual English-speaking society despite the nation’s claim to a multicultural identity and in spite of a long history as a multilingual society. I examine these themes through investigating my own German heritage and place within Australia’s multicultural society, as well as my own experiences of language learning. I also explore the connections between language, landscape and identity and how the intersections between these aspects have shaped, and continue to shape, modern Australian attitudes to languages other than English. In the accompanying exegesis, I use a systemic functional linguistics (SFL) perspective of genre to analyse the genre markers of language journalism and how I used and subverted those attributes in my contribution to the genre, my creative artefact. It also examines the ways in which the creative artefact and exegesis are read as belonging to distinct genres despite sharing some markers of language journalism. The exegesis considers the differences between literary and SFL applications of genre and argues that viewed from an SFL perspective, genre becomes more than a way to label and restrict writers, but a useful tool for creative writers during the writing process.

Keywords: applied linguistics, creative writing, multilingualism, monolingualism, Australia, languages, genre, creative nonfiction

Subject: Creative Arts thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2021
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Professor Kate Douglas