Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see statistics of the Most Popular Journal Articles on PEP-Web…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Statistics of the Most Popular Journal Articles on PEP-Web can be reviewed at any time. Just click the “See full statistics” link located at the end of the Most Popular Journal Articles list in the PEP Section.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Buxbaum, E. (1949). The Role of a Second Language in the Formation of Ego and Superego. Psychoanal Q., 18:279-289.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:279-289

The Role of a Second Language in the Formation of Ego and Superego

Edith Buxbaum, Ph.D.

During the analyses of four patients with bilingual backgrounds, German and English, I had occasion to observe the way in which the ego and the superego contributed to the acquisition and use of a second language. From these observations some conclusions can be drawn as to the rôle of the second language in the formation of the ego and the superego.

Generally, people who learn a foreign language as adults retain an accent, even if they speak it fluently and without solecisms. Most children, however, who have part of their regular schooling in a second language, lose their native accent completely, while elders in their homes may still use their former tongue or use the new language incorrectly; yet there are exceptions among children. Some retain an accent and, although they may be unable to speak their native language, they never learn the new one perfectly. They are thus foreigners in both languages: to the old one because they cannot speak it, perhaps do not even understand it, and to the new one because their accent sets them apart from the rest of the people.

During the course of their analyses, two boys, both of German parents, lost their conspicuous accents. Their pronunciation was never discussed in the analysis. My own accent is of the kind I described above of people who speak fluently, having learned the language in adult life. An identification with my way of talking could not have improved their speech. It is therefore the more remarkable that, despite my own faulty pronunciation, these children should have improved theirs.

Eric, aged six, was an anxious, whiny boy.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2018, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.