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Introduction to Literature and Linguistic Identity

Meaning of Literature:

Novels, plays, and poetry are said as literature, especially when they are considered to be good or important. Literature is a way to communicate, teach, and learn. Literature in its simplest version would be defined as an expression of the culture of individuals and appears in numerous times and places.

|| Ria Syal

During the era of Classical Antiquity, within the Greek and Roman literature reference works were created that might mark the consequent literary production. Literature is split into what are perceived as literary genres that are the classifications of literary works according to their content.

Meaning of Linguistic Identity:

Linguistic Identity comprises a major part of who a spirit is as an acultural entity. The language and associated culture that a person grows up in defines whom they can relate to. Language is a significant element of cultural identity.

Relationship between Literature and Linguistic Identity

Language and literature are interdependent. One can say that language is the niche of literature and that language executes literature. A work of literature can be fully apprehended by learning about the language. However, one cannot endure without the other.

The language of the composer usually gives an essence regarding his literary accomplishments. Hereby, we can say that literature and linguistic identity are entwined.

Concerns arising due to correlation of Literature and Linguistics

When some literary work is propelled or brought in the account or brought because of the reader, how do they comprehend it, their appraisals, some readers may oppose due to its criticizing content. Here a major question arises-

“Why there are readers for a book named ‘X’ more than the book named ‘Y’?

The possible reasons for this may be pointed out as follows-
  • A linguistic barrier between the author and the readers
  • The cultural identity of the author, his foundation, regional history, etc
  • Access denied by the society to the readers due to orthodox thinking of the general public
  • Disputes arising between like-minded and opposite people
  •  This may direct to groupism

How does language impacts identity?

Language has the potential to completely develop one’s identity. The usage of a distinctive set of words significantly impacts every individual’s thoughts and ideas. Language is so dominant that it can either help a person to strengthen new relationships or it can get a lot of people fronting you.

For example, a person with a lawful language and gentle way of talking grants a courteous impression of the individual. On the other hand, a person with an unconventional language degrades the courteous impression and forms a more generous kind of impression of the individual.

In a nutshell, language is one’s identity and one must feel dignity in it. As when one speaks his/her original language publically, one expresses his/her own culture as well as linguistic identity.

It also represents who we are. Language and culture come in distinct forms that differ from person to person; society to society. Therefore, it is a vital part of one’s life and we should be happily realizing it instead of hesitating.



About the Author

Yangsook Choi

Yangsook Choi grew up in Korea. She started sketching at the age of four and loved showing her grandma scary tales. After moving to New York to pursue her art, she has recorded and painted many books for young readers. Her books for young readers. Her books have been commended as “Best of the Best” by the Chicago Public Library, incorporated on the American Library Association Notable Books List, chosen by PBS Reading Rainbow, and have won the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award.

When she is not formulating, she loves to engage and play with children in her area and around the world. The neighbourhood children in a shelter, the mountain children in the Arabian desert, the orphans in flooded Cambodia, and the North Korean defector children are amongst her great teachers.

She received an MFA in representation from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Some of the books signed by her are –

  • Behind The Mask
  • New Cat
  • Peach Heaven
  • Landed
  • The Next New Year
  • Rice Is Life etc….

Yangsook Choi fancies visits to schools, libraries, NGO’s and talks at literary festivals and conferences. She has made over a hundred appearances as a speaker and teacher in fourteen around the world


The main character- Unhei (pronounced as Yoon Hey)

Teacher- Cocotus

Grocery seller- Mr. Kim

The narrative begins when the girl named Unhei parts her hometown of Korea and goes to the United States. before she leaves her home, her granny gives her a red satin pouch with her name inscribed on it addressed in Korean. When she departs her home and arrives in the United States, she is very eager to go to her school but on her first day to school on her bus she gets discouraged as no one can pronounce her name correctly. All the children on the bus began making fun of her name as no one could pronounce it which made her feel miserable. After she saw that no one can pronounce her name so after appearing in her new class she decided to give herself a new American name. Therefore, she tells the class that she demands some time to decide upon her new name. In the meanwhile, the class decides why not they organize a name jar in the class and decide on a name which Unhei picks up from the jar. The jar was loaded with American names that all the pupils of the class had recommended. She picks up many names from the name jar but is not certain about which one to select. In the meanwhile, a boy named Joey befriends Unhei and assists her to recognize that her name is fine and that she obliges to value her name. After being buddies with Joey she concedes that her name is perfect and she proclaims that she would maintain her name.

How can we say the text “The Name Jar” deals with Literature and Linguistic Identity?

We are viewing forward to assisting children and other people too, who linger in disclosing their individuality due to the scare of culture, semblance, different shapes, and sizes, diverse thinking patterns, interests, opinions, etc.

The Name Jar is a book that helps children to traverse their entry to a new world. The book assists the children to distinguish themselves as a sole identity. Unhei, a girl unknowingly about the uniqueness of her linguistic as well as a cultural identity.

At the starting, of the book, we get to comprehend that Unhei belongs to Korea and transits to the United States for her further studies.

When she goes to her new school, she finds it challenging to expose her name to the students due to a linguistic obstacle between them. Here we can get an inkling about how linguistic individuality plays a role in everyone’s lives.


Everyone is unique in their way

The story opens from the first day of Rene’s school where he encounters out that the teacher had blown out on his second surname and his tag only reads Rene Colato instead of Rene ColatoLainez. He presumed that the teacher might have got short of ink so he attached his last name but everyone tantalized him of having an unusually prolonged dinosaur-like name. Just like the book The Name Jar, Rene feels awkward about his individuality of having two surnames. In an identical way how Unhei used to feel reluctant about exposing her identity. Unhei also had many questions awaking in her mind. Rene was tantalized by his classmates, for having a long dinosaur name. It may be the case with Unhei, once after she uncovered her identity amidst her classmates. She may also be taunted or ridden by the children. The children maybe won’t accept her due to her Korean name. But the question here arises-

What are the concerns faced by the people when they come in association with the people of different communities? And why do they feel left out, hesitant in disclosing their real identities?

First and foremost, thing, parents should encourage their children to inculcate positive habits in their children. Parents should never compare one child with other siblings, it may generate a lack of confidence and it may stunt the growth of the child mentally.

Children should examine themselves and should never be held back by their parents or anyone else. The child should be triggered if he/she succeeds or accomplishes his/her goal. But it doesn’t mean the child should be permitted to do whatever he/she may want. Parenting should be done healthily. As whatever habits inculcated during childhood would remain forever with the child and in the future, the child would react proportionately to the problems faced by him/her.

People seem out of the crowd when they join a new place, maybe due to the idea of their cultural, social, or linguistic identity.

If one conjectures the uniqueness of his/her identity then it would be easy for him/her to accommodate in the following new environment.

Let’s take an example from our real lives. How well do you think we portray in our real lives? The answer to this question would be very smooth and natural by each one of us. i.e., Yes, we act very favourably in our lives and we are never performed anything wrong.

Well, this is just a myth. Let’s talk about the LGBTQ Community.

What does LGBTQ stand for?

L- Lesbian





What are the problems faced by the LGBTQ community?

  1. Homelessness

Many people who recognize themselves as a part of the LGBTQ community end up abandoned. Most of the youth who are not accepted by their families as part of the community end up homeless. Their families discard them shelter, food or some families may disown the child of such a community. Everyone has the liberty to choose their sexual identity, gender. If not forced out of their houses by their families, some in the fear of rejection or acceptance by the society or ran away to flee the abusive situation they may run away from their houses voluntarily and may turn out homeless on streets. Around 40-45% of youth land up homeless on the streets.

  1. Harassment faced by LGBTQ community students

Allover, the world many LGBTQ students get despoiled in schools. So, to evade being a part of the victim of harassment, students tend to miss their lectures in schools.

According to the National School Climate Survey 2017,

  • Hearing biased remarks, including homophobic remarks, in school
  • Feeling unsafe in school because of personal characteristics, such as sexual orientation, gender expression, or race/ ethnicity
  • Missing school because of safety reasons
  • Enduring harassment and onslaught in school
  • Encountering discriminatory policies and practices at school.

Therefore, LGBTQ student victims find it troublesome to speak about the harassment as it is so rooted in our brains and as well as in our culture.

  1. Health Issues and Psychological Disorders

It is a major health concern. As the community faces societal discrimination and a lack of conventional healthcare facilities.

They are neglected by society, ejected from societal privileges, no job facilities, unhealthy lifestyles, etc.

  • Tautness
  • Hypertension
  • Eating Maladies
  • Substance Abuse
  • Mood Disorders
  • Smoking Issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Self-slaughter

Whereas, in our second secondary text “It’s Okay To Be Different”, Parr assists the children to explore themselves unobstructed without any limitations. And it tells that every individual has his/her own sole identity. No individual should hold mediocre about their disabilities, size, shape, complexion, etc. Childhood is a gentle and tender stage that should be supervised with care. Every childhood feels unique in its way.


Learning a new language is a blessing. One can understand another person’s critical state in deep, beyond the stereotypes, and help the person in need. Learning a new language is the most humanizing thing one can do according to the United Nations. As the learning language of the minority or the people who face identity issues, one might be able to connect with his/her language and get a more immeasurable understanding of it. Keeping one’s language unblended helps to keep a group’s/person’s linguistic identity intact.

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