Catalan Identity: A Study of the Folktale La Llegenda de Sant Jordi
Author: Lim Xin Hwee (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Speaker: Lim Xin Hwee
Topic: Anthropological Linguistics
COMELA 2021 General Session
The question of the roles that folktales play within a culture has been widely debated in the realm of linguistic anthropology, with Alan Dundes (1975) positing that folktales can be used for cultivating national identity. However, these arguments tend to remain in the theoretical realm and do not assess the effects on the diaspora of a nation that presumably shares a culture. My paper aims to address the relationship between the Catalan folktale La Llegenda de Sant Jordi (The Legend of Saint George) and Catalan nationalism, paying special attention to the Catalan diaspora and the effect that folktales have on shaping the values of children. My consultant is a Catalan who moved to Singapore with her family. I obtained a recording of her reciting La Llegenda de Sant Jordi, which I glossed, translated, and analyzed. I argue that having a folktale that a nation can call their own is imperative to asserting its identity and autonomy, which is especially crucial given Catalonia’s ongoing struggle for independence.
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Keywords: Catalan, national identity, folklore