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By Terje Mathiassen

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That is, bilingual language use has “meaning” that is not only referential, but also indexical. In this way, language choice for bilinguals is a nonreferential index (Silverstein 1976/1995), deriving its meaning to participants by pointing to some dimension of interactional and cultural context, above and beyond any explicit propositional content. , that the speaker is angry). It is through such nonreferential indexicality that different personas get evoked/invoked in bilinguals’ use of two languages.

11 Ervin-Tripp and Reyes (2005) link Gumperz’s discussion of metaphorical code-switching (Blom and Gumperz 1972; Gumperz 1982) to the contrasts in persona that many bilinguals display and report. 12 Another trend in sociocultural approaches to bilingualism also takes issue with treating each code in a bilingual individual’s or community’s repertoire as a monolithic whole. There is indeed growing interest in bilingual hybridity. As Urciuoli (1995, 1998) and Woolard (1998b) have argued, bilingual meaning is often generated at the boundaries between languages— where the linguistic form may simultaneously draw social meanings from its connections to more than one code.

7 Lacan (1966) is of course another example of a psychoanalyst who saw the fundamental importance of language for psychoanalysis, and for subjectivity more generally. The child’s entry into the symbolic realm of language and culture is a pivotal, if traumatic moment in development. Indeed Cameron and Kulick (2003) argue that sociolinguists and linguistic anthropologists should pay greater attention to Lacanian psychoanalytic theories that address the role of desire in verbal interaction. ). As Capps and Ochs (1995) note, even among psychoanalytic authors (not necessarily Lacanian) who advocate an understanding of treatment as one of collaborative narration, most do not typically attend to the specific discursive resources that people use in their narratives.

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