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 2022 General Session


Abstract

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.

References:

Ben-Amos, Dan, and Kenneth S. Goldstein. (1975). Folklore. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.
Sims, M., & Stephens, M. (2005). Living Folklore: Introduction to the Study of People and their Traditions. University Press of Colorado.
Dundes, Alan. 1965. The Study of Folklore in Literature and Culture: Identification and Interpretation. The Journal of American Folklore, 78(308), 136-142.
Foley, William A. (1997). Anthropological Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.
Iuhaş, Florica. (2015). “Typology of the ‘One Day Hero’ as a Media Symbolic Construct.” Romanian Journal of Journalism & Communication / Revista Romana de Jurnalism Si Comunicare- RRJC 10 (1): 26–35.

Keywords: Catalan, national identity, folklore