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Foster, R.P. (1996). The Bilingual Self—Thoughts from a Scientific Positivist or Pragmatic Psychoanalyst?: Reply to Massey. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(1):141-150.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(1):141-150

The Bilingual Self—Thoughts from a Scientific Positivist or Pragmatic Psychoanalyst?: Reply to Massey Related Papers

RoseMarie Pérez Foster, Ph.D.

I would first like to thank Dr. Massey for her thoughtful consideration of my paper. She has raised important and stimulating questions, for which I am grateful.

Aside from Massey's basic questioning of what I have described as the bilingual self-experience, I understand her critique as being most concerned with: (1) my inclusion, consideration, and use of data on bilingual phenomena collected through traditional scientific methodology and (2) my theoretical position on the spectrum of psycholinguistic viewpoints, which poses representational (language is a product of mind that reflects intrapsychic contents) versus dialogic (language is a lived phenomenon) views of language at opposing ends. Although I notice no balanced consideration of the representational view of language and how it relates to my work, Massey's focal use of Bakhtin's formulations and Sauserre's la langue versus la parole distinction nevertheless props me into the la langue, or representational position. In general, my efforts to establish a relationship between long-term habits of dual-language use and aspects of self-experience are extremely discomforting to Massey, who ultimately concludes that my views are not only clinically limited, but in poor ideological taste as well.

As I have come to formulate Massey's reactions to my thinking, I believe they represent the basic ingredients for dialogues that have now become familiar to us in contemporary academic literature. These are concerns which fall under the general rubric of hard science versus soft science, hermeneutic versus nonhermeneutic approaches to interpretation and positivistic versus social-constructivist positions in epistemology.

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