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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The “Gift”: Synesthesia in Translingual Texts

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This article explores the relationship between multilingualism and synesthesia (neuro-psychological blend of senses). In the absence of research in any of the related fields, the author (a multilingual, a L2 scholar, a writer, and a synesthete all at once) views synesthesia through the lens of “translingual texts” written in L2 by multilingual authors and takes an interdisciplinary perspective, fusing L2 scholarship, cognitive theory, neuroscience, literary theory, and semiotics to investigate the complexities and subjectivities of the multilingual mind. ‘Translingual synesthesia’ appears to represent an idiosyncratic form of language emotionality and creativity, allowing translingual authors to transcend cognitive and linguistic realms and to embody L2 with personal imagery while simultaneously creating an aesthetic effect of “de-familiarization of the word” (“ostranneniye slova”).

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