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Beyond the Mother TongueThe Postmonolingual Condition$
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Yasemin Yildiz

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823241309

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823241309.001.0001

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introduction: Beyond the Mother Tongue?

introduction: Beyond the Mother Tongue?

Multilingual Practices and the Monolingual Paradigm

(p.1) INTRODUCTION: Beyond the Mother Tongue?
Beyond the Mother Tongue

Yeasemin Yildiz

Fordham University Press

The introduction provides the historical and conceptual backdrop to the argument that monolingualism is a more recent phenomenon than multilingualism and elaborates on the notion of the “postmonolingual condition.” It charts the emergence of the monolingual paradigm in late-eighteenth-century Europe, with emphasis on the conceptual impact of the thought of Herder and Schleiermacher. The chapter also provides a brief history of the term “mother tongue” and discusses feminist, media theoretical, and psychoanalytic perspectives on this concept before offering a new reading of it as a “linguistic family romance.” It situates the present study in relationship to literary and linguistic scholarship on multilingualism, as well as in relationship to German, German-Jewish, and Turkish-German Studies. Through an analysis of the conceptual artwork Wordsearch: A Translinguistic Sculpture by artist Karin Sander, the chapter argues for the importance of a critical approach to multilingualism that takes the monolingual paradigm into account, even in an age of globalization and transnational flows.

Keywords:   family romance, Friedrich Schleiermacher, German-Jewish, globalization, Johann Gottfried Herder, Karin Sander, monolingualism, mother tongue, multilingualism, Turkish-German

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