A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Language and Communication Quotes Page 4
How we cite our quotes:
– The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine. How different are the words home, Christ, ale, master, on his lips and on mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired speech. I have not made or accepted its words. My voice holds them at bay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language.
Stephen realizes that English will always be the language of the oppressor in Ireland; the Irish people neither created nor accepted it. The problem, then, is what language to speak at all – we later learn that Stephen dropped out of Irish language class.