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Comment Dire: A Neurolinguistic Approach to Beckett’s Bilingual Writings

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Recent studies from the field of neurolinguistics and psycholinguistics suggest that bilinguals and multilinguals are in many ways fundamentally different from monolinguals, a difference that starts with a different cerebral structure for language. This difference will constitute the point of departure for my paper: If multilingual people are intrinsically different from monolingual people, it should follow that multilingual writers must be intrinsically different from monolingual writers.  Samuel Beckett’s bilingualism was the governing force of much of his writing and has received ample critical attention. Yet this article will examine a hitherto neglected aspect of this topic: the way Beckett’s bilingualism may have inflected his writing in the first place. It will call on some of the research in neuro- and psycholinguistics to illuminate Beckett’s constant back and forth between English and French and the importance this may have had for his writing as well as to show how Beckett’s bilingual background is organically connected to the writing.

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