Aggression And The Telos Of Learning: A Psychoanalytic Study Of Significant Host-Foreign Language Acquisition

  • Fernanda Carrá-Salsberg York University


With a focus on descriptions provided in Richard Rodriguez’ Hunger of Memory, Alice Pitt’s “Language on Loan” and Alice Kaplan’s French Lessons, this article analysis the psycho-emotional situation of significant language learning for both: child and adolescent monolingual migrants, and host-foreign language students studying abroad. It is an examination of the unconscious meaning behind linguistic relocations. This work pays close attention to the manner in which acquiring a new language unveils subjects’ affect and history of learning. It looks into host-foreign language immersions and acquisition in relation to our human nature, universal needs and responses to host-foreign language immersions and learning. Drives and defenses behind young language migrants’ embodiment of a new language are discussed through questions of desire, identifications and need for individuation. Central to this paper is also the exploration of how significant learning, as a cognitive-emotional experience, is tied to differing forms of aggression. This work asks: What can migrants’ and foreign language students’ desire to learn host- second languages tell us about their inner realities and about the meaning they knowingly and unknowingly attach to an acquired host-foreign language? How may host-foreign language acquisition aid in learners’ psychic growth? To what extent does significant learning become a module in young subjects’ process of self-reinvention? And finally, and at the heart of this article, how is significant language acquisition tied to crises, identifications and matricide? 


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How to Cite
Carrá-Salsberg, F. (2015). Aggression And The Telos Of Learning: A Psychoanalytic Study Of Significant Host-Foreign Language Acquisition. Language and Psychoanalysis, 4(2), 34-49.
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