This paper will show the interplay between language and identity in the writing of Sinophone Chinese minority writers, who write what can be envisioned as a form of postcolonial literature. It is postcolonial in the sense that they are transposing their native, subaltern culture into Chinese for a Han Chinese audience. The focus of the discussion is on Naxi minority writers such as Sha Li and Niu Gengqin who are writing their own racial identity in Chinese. They are essentially “translating” the cultural metatext of their home (Naxi) culture for a dominant-culture (Han) audience. It is argued that the use of foreignising literary strategies allows the Naxi writers to negotiate the space that has been created by the convergence of Naxi and Chinese language and culture: they have created a distinct form of Chinese, a Naxi-influenced, ethnic Chinese that represents a translated identity.



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