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Word Count: 514
In Arts of the Contact Zone Mary Louise Pratt discusses a conflict which she has labeled the contact zone Pratt defines the contact zone loosely as the social spaces where cultures meet clash and grapple with each other In 1613 Guama Poma a native Andean of Incan descent wrote a twelve-hundred page letter addressed to King Philip III of Spain Although the letter never reached its destination we are now recognizing it as a contact zone in which two languages and cultures meet and misinterpret each other Poma had adopted the Spanish language as his means of communication of King Philip III Pomas work is autoethnographic which means that he describes his own society in a way which he thinks the other society views his culture using their language while incorporating his own culture and ideas Pomas accomplishment is astonishing when one considers that the Incas had no system of writing His only means of written expression is the Spanish language Poma has taken it upon himself to learn enough Spanish so that is able to express his thoughts fluently However his written language will be subject to much interpretation and it is likely misunderstanding Language is subject to much interpretation and at first glance it seems Poma writes in his letter some harsh opinions of the Spanish The Spanish he writes brought nothing of value to share with the Andeans nothing but armor and guns con la codicia de oro plata oro y plata yindias a las Yindias with the lust for gold silver gold and silver Indies the Indies Peru Here Poma uses the Spanish language to criticize the Spanish in his letter Pratt was also interested in Guama Poma mirrors back to the Spanish an image themselves that they often suppress and will therefore surely recognize Here Poma has taken a great risk of offending the Spanish in his letter which he intended to help bridge the gap between the two
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