By Rosalind Coward
Booklet by way of Coward, Rosalind, Ellis, John
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Additional info for Language and Materialism: Development in Semiology and the Theory of the Subject
Maria Volynsky of Temple University, Philadelphia, reports an occasion where a bilingual Russian–English speaker used the Russian verb иметь /imet’/ ‘have’ in the following context: (16) moya mama imela menya v 17 let my mother had me at seventeen English, of course, allows several readings of ‘having someone’, one of which includes the meaning of sexual intercourse. In (16), the context sufficiently disambiguates the utterance towards the interpretation ‘give birth to’. In Russian, however, this is not the case, and Volynsky remembers being rather shocked by this utterance until the misunderstanding was cleared up.
G. words that mean (nearly) the same or sound (nearly) the same in both their language systems. When the speaker wants to retrieve a word from memory, similar items will compete with each other, and sometimes an item from the non-selected language is stronger (perhaps because it has been used more often, or more recently). This item may then interfere with the access to the corresponding item in the target language, leading to one or the other of the interference processes described above. However, in the process of language attrition there may also be changes which do not originate in the second language.
They can occur either on an ad hoc or on a structural basis – in other words, they may be used on only one occasion, or be fully integrated as synonyms or replacements for their corresponding L1 terms. The reasons for such borrowings can vary – the L2 items may have acquired a slightly different and more accurate meaning for a particular speaker; they may refer to a phenomenon which is different in the country of emigration due to social or geographical circumstances; or the L1 term may have remained frozen at the level of development which had obtained at the moment of migration.
Language and Materialism: Development in Semiology and the Theory of the Subject by Rosalind Coward