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  • Memory Speaks

  • On Losing and Reclaiming Language and Self
  • By: Julie Sedivy
  • Narrated by: Donna Postel
  • Length: 12 hrs and 56 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Memory Speaks cover art

Memory Speaks

By: Julie Sedivy
Narrated by: Donna Postel
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Summary

As a child, Julie Sedivy left Czechoslovakia for Canada, and English soon took over her life. By early adulthood she spoke Czech rarely and badly, and when her father died unexpectedly, she lost not only a beloved parent but also her firmest point of connection to her native language. As Sedivy realized, more is at stake here than the loss of language: there is also the loss of identity.

Language is an important part of adaptation to a new culture, and immigrants everywhere face pressure to assimilate. Recognizing this tension, Sedivy set out to understand the science of language loss and the potential for renewal. In Memory Speaks, she takes on the psychological and social world of multilingualism, exploring the human brain's capacity to learn—and forget—languages at various stages of life. Countering the widespread view that linguistic pluralism splinters loyalties and communities, Sedivy argues that the struggle to remain connected to an ancestral language and culture is a site of common ground.

Memory Speaks combines a rich body of psychological research with a moving story at once personal and universally resonant. As citizens debate the merits of bilingual education, as the world's less dominant languages are driven to extinction, and as many people confront the pain of language loss, this is badly needed wisdom.

©2021 the President and Fellows of Harvard College (P)2022 Tantor

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insightful science, moving story

beautiful story and insightful linguistics. only criticism is that there is no mention of signed languages.

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