From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

The distinctive use of the Italian language in Nuruddin Farah’s late production

Marco Medugno


This article analyses the use of the Italian language in Nuruddin Farah’s later works, i.e. in the so-called Past Imperfect trilogy (2005-2011), in comparison to his earlier texts. Academic studies about the presence of the Italian language in his production are quite the exception. This article proposes a new assessment of the role and use of Italian in one novel in particular, Links, by comparing it to Farah’s previous output. I question the dichotomy between colonial and local language and challenge the concepts of transnational and diasporic. I argue that Farah’s use of Italian should be studied according to the development of the themes of his fiction, as they have shifted and broadened in scope from the early portrayal of the decolonising period to the latest representation of a more global and neocolonial environment.


Nuruddin Farah, colonial language, Italian colonialism, diaspora, transnationalism, postcolonialism, neocolonialism



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