Friday, March 04, 2011

Pigeons and Creoles

Stephen Kelman's debut novel about life on an estate in Luton, Pigeon English, gets some good coverage in today's Independent. The novel, which plays on the word pidgin - a simplified language often used to communicate between people who don't share a common tongue - in its title, is praised for its authentic-sounding slang and its 1st person narrative perspective, which views the often brutal world around through the eyes of a child. I've not read it yet, but it's getting good reviews all over the place and a book with language like this at its core sounds like a good read to me.

The Independent article mentions Gautum Malkani's Londonstani as part of its survey of other slang-driven narratives, and ex-SFX student and onetime blogger on here, Charissa King did a post on the language of this book while she was at university. South London writer Alex Wheatle also gets a name check in the article (as should Courttia Newland!) and of course Irvine Welsh, who was arguably one of the first to really capture and popularise the vernacular in modern fiction with Trainspotting, is referred to as well.

edited on 14.03.11 to add: now I've got the book, it looks like it's set in South London and not Luton. I think Luton is where Kelman grew up, but I might be wrong...

Black British English vs MLE

The latest episode of Lexis is out and it features an interview with Ife Thompson about lots of issues connected to Black British English, i...