Introduction to Defining Lingual Conflicts and Complements
In Rudy Oku’s multilingual project, the Definition of Language, Oku explains that Nemesis, his former breakdancing teacher, and himself have been speaking two different dialects of dancing; that neither his free-spirited dancing nor Nemesis’s strict-training oriented philosophy of dancing is wrong. Unlike Oku, who identifies the two distinctive philosophies as dialects under a single language, I found the philosophies to be two distinctive languages. Though these two languages may be different, these two “languages are not necessarily at war with each other; they complement each other in communication,” just like Suyesh Canagarajah points out in his Introduction to Translingual Practice that examines translingualism in oral communication (Canagarajah 6). Throughout Oku’s narrative, readers can view the different phases in which two discrete languages conflict with and complement each other. However, these conflicts and complement are not simply a hodgepodge of random events; they occur in a chronological and logical fashion. Two discrete monolingual communications result in a conflict, whether a head-on clash or a minor friction. These conflicts naturally segue into complement, in which the individual understands the other side and solidifies the person’s individual identity. The individual absorbs small fragments of the opponent’s language, and the individual’s language diversifies into a translingual mode of communication. Diversification of the language does not result in yielding one’s belief for a portion of another belief, but rather results in individualization and uniqueness.