Can the Undead Speak?: Language Death as a Matter of (Not) Knowing

Publication Year:
Social Media 20
Shares, Likes & Comments 20
Repository URL:;
Nash, Tyler
(un)dead language in pain; ἀλήθεια [alētheia]; translation; grammatical metaphor; conservation of knowledge; (de)significance; Language Interpretation and Translation
artifact description
This text studies how language death and metaphor algorithmically collude to propagate our intellectual culture. In describing how language builds upon and ultimately necessitates its own ruins to our frustration and subjugation, I define dead language in general and then, following a reading of Benjamin’s “The Task of the Translator,” explore the instance of indexical translation. Inventing the language in pain, a de-signified or designated language located between the frank and the esoteric language theories in the mediaeval of examples of Dante Alighieri and Hildegaard von Bingen, the text acquires the prime modernist example of dead language appropriation in ἀλήθεια and φύσις from the earlier fascistic works of Martin Heidegger. It synthesizes the mood of language death underpinning intellection generally and the linguistic functions of nomination, necessitation, and equation, in particular. These functions are drawn from the tension located between significance and designificance and expounded in the mapping of Daseinlichkeit.