LINGUIST List 7.707

Thu May 16 1996

Disc: Foreign languages in dreams

Editor for this issue: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar <>


  1. Birgit Kellner, Re: 7.679 Translation (linguistic analysis of foreign languages in dreams)

Message 1: Re: 7.679 Translation (linguistic analysis of foreign languages in dreams)

Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 04:02:37 +0900
From: Birgit Kellner <>
Subject: Re: 7.679 Translation (linguistic analysis of foreign languages in dreams)
Following up a recent posting by Robert Lawless
(LAWLESSTWSUVM.UC.TWSU.EDU), who asked how to explain the phenomenon of
translating previously experienced actual conversations into another
language in one's dreams, I would like to add the following query: 

Has any linguistic research been carried out (I hope so) on the
representation and function of foreign languages in dreams? I would be
particularly interested in how living in country A affects the manifestation
of country A's language in non-native speakers' dreams. Example: How
learning German affects Turkish immigrant workers' dreams, how learning
Japanese affects Peruvian immigrant workers' dreams or (to use my own case)
foreign students' dreams etc. I would imagine that research on such matters
would be highly complicated in socio-linguistic/psycho-linguistic terms, and
I would expect the result being quite telling in terms of how a country
admits its foreign population to blend in, naturalize etc. If I may take the
liberty to speculate - I would expect the language of a linguistically
closed country such as Japan (i.e. a country with a more or less uniform
colloquial language) with a strong emphasis on foreigners' ghettoization to
manifest itself only with difficulties and only under very peculiar
circumsatances in foreigners' dreams, whereas I could imagine that English,
for a foreigner working in the U.S., seeps in much easier. Having said that,
I have to add that I also would expect this process to be radically
different for different social layers, generations etc. 

Anyway, any reference would be appreciated, 

Birgit Kellner
Department for Indian Philosophy
University of Hiroshima
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