Using Untranslatable Dictions as a Literary Device

Rajendran Sankaravelayuthan

Centre for Excellence in Computational Engineering and Networking (CEN), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. Email:

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.03

Received September 27, 2017; Revised December 11, 2017; Accepted December 30, 2017; Published February 04, 2018.


This paper intends to analyse the writings of Indian novelists and find out how they make use of untranslatable dictions as a literacy device.  Indian writers often choose Indian situations or Indian themes while resorting to create a literary piece in English. One can find Indianism in the writings of all the Indian English authors.  We come across many novelist of early period as well as the present period choose a theme familiar to them by place, culture and acquaintance and build their characters and stories so that the stamp of Indianism is imprinted in their writings. While going through the writings of Indian authors, of early period such as R. K. Narayan, Ahmad Ali , Raja Rao and Mulk Raj Anand  and the present day Arundathi Roy, Anita Nair, Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bagat, Sudeep Nagarkar and others, we can observe that they codify English to suit their intention of narrating stories with Indianism. They resort to a unique deviation at all the levels of language structure such as discourse level, syntactic level, lexical level, morphological level and phonological level. Code mixing is the major strategy they adopt. They make use of untranslatable dictions to present before their readers an Indian menu to consume. The outcome of their efforts becomes artificial or artificially code mixed. The language spoken by their characters may not exist in the real world. So they make a distinction between the textual world and real world. The textual world allows the use of artificial English loaded with cultural terms or untranslatable items.

Keywords: Indianism, untranslatability, code mixing, lexical deviation, morphological deviation, syntactic deviation, discourse deviation, phonological deviation, cultural translation

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