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Foster, R.P. (1996). The Bilingual Self: Duet in Two Voices. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(1):99-121.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(1):99-121

The Bilingual Self: Duet in Two Voices Related Papers

RoseMarie Pérez Foster, Ph.D.

Exploring the phenomenon of experiential and psychic duality in the bilingual speaker, the author proposes that bilingual speakers may possess different representations of self that are organized around their respective languages. Building on previous work describing the critical role of language in organizing cognitive/affective experience and titrating psychodynamic operations, the author presents case material that elaborates on these themes and further describes the dynamic use of language as a “characterological organizer.” Emphasizing that language is acquired within a complex matrix of social-contextual, object-relational, intrapsychic, and psycholinguistic elements, she views the languages of the bilingual speaker as signifiers of unique self-representations internalized at the time of respective language acquisition and early usage.

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