Re: reflection on language

Ana Catina (catina@Psyres-Stuttgart.DE)
Fri, 31 May 1996 18:29:27 +0200 (MET DST)

Devi asked what does it mean "I shall never learn to cry in another
language". (In what language do you wish the explanation, Devi?).
It is probaly difficult to understand (also to explain) for somebody who
grew up bi-lingually. Such a person masters two languages instead of
one. Such a person is two languages. What I meant does not refer to "how
one master a foreign language". It has very much to do with the personal
involvement with a language (too much figurative?)
It is so: being in the situation to live in another language
(no type mistake) I discovered that words have beyond
their meaning a certain "intensity" and a certain kind of emotional
connotation. Both can be connected even with the way
they "sound" in the ear of an individual. That is perhaps the reason why
tourists use easily "dirty words": those words do not sound as dirty as
their translation in one`s language. One knows that one ought not to use
them but they seem to lose some of their intensity, if spoken in another
language. I
assume that this intensity comes from experiencing words in a multitude of
contexts (semantic and experential) that charge them with "undertexts"or
"background" and
grant them "the personal flavour", emotional in nature. Emotions are often recognised in term of words they have beem associated
with, or are "escorted" by words in our experience. Speaking out certain
words and hearing them recalls probably the background they are inbetted in.

Let us say that an adult person uses to be the result of all these mixed
experiences, construed at such
different levels, different and yet so nicely bound. How
many similar experiences does s/he need in order to be able to transfer
her/his being with all its intensities into another word- system?

Crying, in the sense I meant, is the path of INTRA-INDIVIDUAL communication.
In languages one can speak or read, but are not languages in which one
"has become" the person who one is, the meaning of the
words will be UNDERSTOOD, one will be able to attach to them surprisingly much emotional meaning, I can partialy feel
their intensity in the respective language, and if one is lucky, one can use
them in the right context. However, I can imagine that for a long time they
will be empty boxes for the being that is beyond speaking.
Did I increased the confusion?

Dr.Phil. Ana Catina
Center for Psychotherapy Research
Christian Belser Str. 79a
70597 Stuttgart

Fax number. *49 711 687 6902
Phone 49 711 6781 411