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The Exiles


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What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

Created: 10/14/20

Replies: 15

Posted Oct. 14, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2619

What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?


Posted Oct. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
SusanC.

Join Date: 03/25/13

Posts: 40

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

My son is a Linguist so I know that language is a defining personal characteristic for any human. It gives them a sense of place or home. This more than anything else made Mathinna feel like she had no true home.


Posted Oct. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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pauj

Join Date: 04/26/14

Posts: 44

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

I agree with SusanC.; Mathinna's language and culture was something that defined her. It's no wonder she felt completely lost and by the end of the story, had no idea who she had been.


Posted Oct. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 504

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

Thanks, SusanC - I appreciated that insight!

I recently read a column (Dear Abby, I think) where the wife was complaining that her husband reverted to his native language when talking to relatives, and that she felt left out. The discussion proceeded to revolve around the idea of "home," and how one's language evokes that same feeling of belonging.

What I disagree with is Mathinna's belief that she couldn't re-learn her language, and that she made little attempt to return. "You can't go home again," I suppose, but you can, perhaps, re-establish "home."


Posted Oct. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbettet

Join Date: 10/01/20

Posts: 7

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

I connected Mathinna losing her language with the way the US took Native American children away from their parents, tribe, and culture, put them into boarding schools, and did not allow them to speak their tribal languages. At least they had each other; Mathinna was totally alone and treated as a specimen or trophy.


Posted Oct. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Gloria

Join Date: 03/11/15

Posts: 97

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? de from her old life?

Mathinna had lost so much: her family, her land, her customs, and now they wanted to take away the last thing that made her who she was. So it was the last straw. Maybe she could have learned a new language and started a new life, but perhaps it was just asking too much.


Posted Oct. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbettet

Join Date: 10/01/20

Posts: 7

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

Another similarity (besides the Native American children removed from their families) I see is removing Pocahontas from Jamestown and taking her to England where she became somewhat of a "curiosity." Ah, colonialism...as Sir John says in the novel, "You're doing them a great service."


Posted Oct. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ColoradoGirl

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 103

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

It seemed tragic to me that she lost her language, so much had been taken from her and without someone to converse with in her language, it was logical that she would lose it. I did go to wikipedia to see what really happened to Mathinna.


Posted Oct. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
candacef

Join Date: 12/02/15

Posts: 19

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

I also agree with Babette. I live in a diverse city and I hear several languages when I shop. I remember when I heard people say (years ago) if people of other languages move to the US they should “learn our language” but I’m glad to see Spanish signs posted along with English. It’s an issue of acceptance.


Posted Oct. 18, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Anne C.

Join Date: 10/09/14

Posts: 34

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

I just read an article about efforts by language experts to rescue and preserve the old indigenous languages of Brazil, that are being lost as old tribal elders die out and modern civilization takes over. When Mathinna forgets her language, it is though her old life and her birth family are ceasing to exist.


Posted Oct. 18, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Alaskareader

Join Date: 10/18/20

Posts: 10

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

Alaska Natives were often forced to give up their language, their religion, and many other aspects of their culture - usually by missionaries or teachers. Only in recent years have they taken back control of their lives and are now trying to re-teach these aspects to their children. Food, language, subsistence hunting and fishing - these are all powerful elements of their Indigenous cultures. It is truly sad what we have done to Indigenous cultures around the globe.


Posted Oct. 18, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
candacef

Join Date: 12/02/15

Posts: 19

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

I agree with Alaska reader. It is sad how the minority races have been treated. We all have to do everything we can to achieve the ultimate goal of acceptance.


Posted Oct. 20, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckyd

Join Date: 07/31/19

Posts: 40

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

There are so many perceptive responses to this question. I too feel it is a true tragedy what has been done to indigenous peoples around the world. The
arrogance of one culture to think that their way of life is superior to another's.


Posted Oct. 20, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JillL

Join Date: 10/19/16

Posts: 31

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

When she lost her language, she lost any hope of returning home. She became someone who didn't belong anywhere. It was heartbreaking to see them use and discard her.


Posted Nov. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 460

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

The language was her last connection to her mother and her people.


Posted Nov. 12, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 325

RE: What is the significance of Mathinna losing her language? Of all the ways she changes after leaving Flinders, why do you think this loss feels the most important to her, and marks such a clear divide from her old life?

The ability to communicate is essential to a sense of belonging, and language is an essential part of communication. I have on several occasions been somewhere where I did not know the language -- in fact could not even read the alphabet (Russia and China) -- and felt totally disconnected. Losing the language meant she had lost her connection to her people.


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