This paper aims to present the linguistic heterogeneity of the Malaysian Indian community that is often thought to be homogenously “Indian” through a comparison of the socio-linguistic signifiers in four English-language Malaysian novels. The variety of real-life speech patterns and code variations in K. S. Maniam’s The Return, Rani Manicka’s The Rice Mother, Preeta Samarasan’s Evening Is the Whole Day, and Sunil Nair’s When All the Lights Are Stripped Away reveal the linguistic heterogeneity of the Malaysian Indian creative imagination. Nuanced differences in speech patterns and codes from novel to novel counterbalance stereotypical representations of the Malaysian Indian community.


South Asian diaspora, Malaysian literature, Malaysian Indian writings, speech patterns, code variation

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