Literature Of Latin America And The Caribbean Term Paper


OCTAVIO PAZ "TRANSPLANTED LANGUAGES" Octavio Paz's 1990 Nobel Lecture accentuated the issue of transplanted languages and the literature that emerged in a transplanted culture. Latin-American and Caribbean literature is good example of the use of transplanted languages since the influence of European and American cultures is quite pronounced. When people migrate from one place to another or are forced to endure foreign rule, the impact on the language is usually the most marked. Words and concepts are borrowed from other languages and cultures, incorporated in native languages and from this fusion, emerges a language which lacks the beauty and grandeur of the original but is well-understood and even widely accepted by the natives influenced by transplantation. This is what Octavio Paz was referring to when he spoke of transplanted languages and its use in Latin American literature.

Languages are born and grow from the native soil, nourished by a common history. The European languages were rooted out from their native soil and their own tradition, and then planted in an unknown and unnamed world: they took root in the new lands and, as they grew within the societies of America, they were transformed. They are the same plant yet also a different plant. Our literatures did not passively accept the changing fortunes of the transplanted languages: they participated in the process and even accelerated it. They very soon ceased to be mere transatlantic reflections: at times they have been the negation of the literatures of Europe; more often, they have been a reply. (Nobel Lecture, 1)

Transplanted languages thus refer to languages which were uprooted from their own area of origin and planted in some new land. The foreign land changed the language because of the cultural and social differences that existed in the new region and thus the language which emerged was different from the original...


through the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty (1848), the local population found itself under the powerful cultural and social forces of United States which later transformed the generations of Mexicans born in America. This encounter and similar encounters in the Caribbean regions by Spanish and other imperial powers resulted in broad cultural interaction. The influence on Europeans on Latin American and Caribbean region was far more profound than American impact, the reason being that various conquests in South American region completely changed the culture of that country and gave birth to languages which were highly influenced by Europe. On the other hand, the generation of Mexicans that were influenced directly by American cultures was the one that grew up in America while those in the native country have more or less retained the European cultural influence. But South Americans residing in America have accepted American influence and this reflects in literary representations.
'The similarity, between the evolution of Anglo-American and Spanish American literature, results from the fact that both are written in transplanted languages. Between ourselves and the American soil a void opened up which we had to fill with strange words. Indians and mestizos included, our language is European. The history of our literatures is the history of our relations with the place that is America, and also with the place where the words we speak were born and came of age. In the beginning our letters were a reflection of European ones. However, in the seventeenth century a singular variety of baroque poetry was born in Spanish America that was not only the exaggeration but at times the transgression of the Spanish model." (Paz, Children, 138)

If we go beyond Paz's lecture and…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited:

1. Octavio Paz, In Search of the Present -- Nobel Lecture, 1990

2. Harris, The Womb of Space: The Cross-Cultural Imagination (Westport, Connecticut:

3. Greenwood, 1983

4. Doris Sommer, Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America, Berkeley -- Los Angeles 1991

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