Penn State

Celeste Kinginger - professor of applied linguistics, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Nord Perdu

Author: Nancy Huston

Book Description:

Le bilinguisme est une stimulation intellectuelle de tous les instants. (Bilingualism is a constant intellectual stimulation.) In this autobiographical work, the celebrated French-language novelist Nancy Huston recounts the quest for intensity that led her from Western Canada to Paris and into a career as a writer. My choice is inspired by the exceptional character of Huston's life story and by the insights it provides into the reasons why people chose to learn languages in the absence of sociopolitical necessity or other coercion. Huston's account of her own bilingualism suggests that the study of a foreign language can be driven by the emotions and by richly nuanced imagination.  Foreign languages are more than instruments for transmission of standardized messages. The pursuit of a foreign language can also emerge from desire for new and previously unimaginable ways to compose a life.


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