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Spatial translations and embodied bilingualism

Spatial translations and embodied bilingualism

Rabourdin, Caroline ORCID: 0000-0002-9694-0384 (2016) Spatial translations and embodied bilingualism. CALL: Irish Journal for Culture, Arts, Literature and Language: Language, Migration and Diaspora, 1 (1):12. (doi:

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As a French architect, writer and educator living in London, my doctoral research at Chelsea College of Art and Design is concerned with the effects of bilingualism and dislocation on perception of space and, inversely, how architectural thinking might inform and help define what I call Bilingual Space, through Spatial Translations. So my paper for Language, Migration and Diaspora is an interdisciplinary view on bilingualism from an architectural perspective.

In a world of increasing mobility, where you come from and where you are going to start taking utmost importance, thus creating a physical movement of translation between A and B, which has become a state of being for many. If words travel, they usually take their roots in a specific location, so that the acquisition of languages, unless learnt in textbooks, generally relates to places where they were learnt. When dislocation occurs, languages from two different places are used. A cognitive oscillating movement of translation between places A and B is set in motion, creating a new Bilingual Space, akin to a vector field. In this space, complex mechanisms of comparisons and equivalences are taking place, with for instance bilingual illusions where, not unlike visual illusions, the ear hears a word and the brain understands another. The word umbrella for instance sounds very much like the French word ombrelle, meaning parasol, but translates as parapluie. Through these phonetic illusions the bilingual subject operates an oscillating movement or bidirectional translation between here and there. For this paper, I will look at physical and visual mechanisms of Vector Fields and Linguistic Illusions applied to the use of two languages, using French-English translations, graphic representations and artists’ works.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Journals Published Through Arrow at ARROW@TU Dublin. It has been accepted for inclusion in CALL: Irish Journal for Culture, Arts, Literature and Language by an authorized administrator of ARROW@TU Dublin. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Uncontrolled Keywords: phenomenology; embodied bilingualism; spatial translation; movement; geometry; physiology
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design (DES)
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Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 21:48

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