"A TERRIBLE STRUCTURALIST WISDOM": HOW LANGUAGE AFFECTS THE IDENTITY OF AN EMIGRANT. CASE STUDY BASED ON THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY "LOST IN TRANSLATION" BY EV
"A TERRIBLE STRUCTURALIST WISDOM": HOW LANGUAGE AFFECTS THE IDENTITY OF AN EMIGRANT. CASE STUDY BASED ON THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY "LOST IN TRANSLATION" BY EV

Author(s): Agata Szepe
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: Wydawnictwa AGH
Keywords: emigrant; identity; language; text; structuralism

Summary/Abstract: This essay is a case study about linguistic mechanisms that affect an emigranfs life. The research is based on the autobiography Lost in Translation by the Polish emigrant Eva Hoffman, analyzed with the use of theories of the stractural linguistic school. According to the research, some linguistic rules influence her life very deeply. She communicates poorly because the expression of new language corresponds with different content from the native language, creating another form. Eva starts to treat daily communication like a written text, in the meaning used by Roland Barthes, which results in alienation. However, some linguistic principles such as the arbitrary naturę ofa sign or inseparability of signifiant and signifie do not affect her at all. She deepens her understanding of both her mother tongue and the new one by linguistic terms such as translation describ-ing, defining and finding synonyms and tries to find her own identities using expressions such as /, you, here, near, and far, belonging to linguistic universals. Her identity is an identity-in-progress because she replaces her old home with a new center ofthe world. The old home remains a heterotopia while an emigrant changes her onceptions connected with the words here, there, near, and far.

  • Issue Year: 12/2013
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 59-64
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: English