Eva Hoffman: ‘somewhere between tongue and mind’

June 21, 2012

I mentioned Eva Hoffman’s book Lost in Translation here in April when it featured in a book spine poem, ‘Forest of Symbols’. John Cowan sang its praises in a comment, so I bumped it up the unread pile. I’m grateful for the prod – it’s the best book I’ve read in months.

Hoffman was a child when she and her family fled Poland for Canada, and later the U.S.; her book, subtitled Life in a New Language, is a memoir of this migration in three parts: Paradise, Exile, and The New World. In it she writes with grace and deep insight about her happy youth in Poland, her alienation across the Atlantic, and her gradual psychological and cultural integration into an English-speaking world.

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John Searle on language, literacy, and the mind

January 17, 2012

Written language is where language acquires not just a much greater creative power but an enduring power…

Below is a short, lively interview with philosopher John Searle on language and the mind, in particular the impact of spoken and written language on human cognition, culture, and civilisation.

Total running time is approx. 23 minutes, in three parts; transcript link is below:

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