Placing Myself in the Picture – An Autobiographical Approach to the Phenomenology of Language, Identity, Trauma and Memory

  • Fernanda Carrá-Salsberg York University


This brief self-narrative juxtaposes philosophical and psychoanalytic theories of language and trauma with descriptions of the author’s experiences as: a child and adolescent migrant, a fragmentary language learner, and a postsecondary language educator. It studies the short and long-term effects of having one’s language of identification undervalued by political tensions, and examines what it means for the ego to (re)construct its identity following a language-related emotional crisis. The author defines her libidinal attachments to her introjected tongues and discusses how her present state of being within uneven languages were carved by the memory of her experiences as a child and an adolescent migrant. Similar to Jacques Derrida’s (1996) description of “disorders of identity”, Carrá-Salsberg blends theory with her recollections of lived occurrences to conceptualize the way in which the inscription of early traumatic occurrences within languages ground subjects’ life-long responses and attitude towards their acquired tongues.

Author Biography

Fernanda Carrá-Salsberg, York University

Fernanda Carrá-Salsberg has been a postsecondary foreign language educator for the past fifteen years. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, her interest in language, culture, migration, trauma and identity formations stems from her repeated migrations as a child and an adolescent, and from experiences as a language pedagogue. She has taught English as a Second language and Spanish. Carrá-Salsberg is currently teaching elementary and intermediate Spanish Grammar and Spanish for Native Speakers at York University, Ontario, Canada.

Carrá-Salsberg has obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours in Spanish Language, Literature and Linguistics at York University, a Bachelor of Education Degree in Second Language Acquisition and History at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, a Master’s in Arts Degree in Spanish Language and Literature at the University of Toronto. She has also graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Language Acquisition, Language Philosophy and Psychoanalysis from the Faculty of Education, York University. 


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How to Cite
Carrá-Salsberg, F. (1). Placing Myself in the Picture – An Autobiographical Approach to the Phenomenology of Language, Identity, Trauma and Memory. Language and Psychoanalysis, 5(1), 4-13.
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