Dreaming in Foreign Languages(Memo)

MICHAEL ERARD “Dreaming in English” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/books/review/Erard-t.html


Reading about all this multilingual dreaming, I asked myself, Why isn’t anyone dreaming in English? Perhaps, I thought, people naïvely assume they dream in their native language, when in fact something else happens — perhaps it’s in recalling a dream that any language in it is identified. I myself can remember dreamtime speaking in Spanish and Mandarin, two languages I’ve studied, as well as dreamtime writing and yelling in English, my native language. But I don’t recall ever waking up and thinking, Wow, I was really fluent in English last night. To answer this question, I dug around in the research and found one 1993 study, carried out by the dream researcher David Foulkes and colleagues, into how bilingual people dream. Before the subjects (half of them native German speakers who spoke English very well, half of them native English speakers who spoke German very well) went to sleep in the lab, researchers asked what they were thinking about, if there was speaking or thinking in a language going on and, if so, what language it was. Then, after the subjects had gone through a REM cycle, they were woken up and asked if they had dreamed, if there had been language in the dream and, if so, what language it was. The results, like dreams themselves, are hard to interpret (the clearest finding was that you could influence the language in the dream with the language spoken in the pre-sleep interview), but all the dreamers reported dreaming in both their languages.

Another study looked at 24 people with REM sleep behavior disorder, a condition that causes people to enact their dreams, walking, talking and sometimes acting violently without waking up. Most of the subjects talked fluently in their native languages, using the same tone of voice as they would when awake, even gesturing. “When the dreamers speak with one or several persons, they leave an appropriate silence as if listening to a response from their fictive talker,” the researchers wrote. “This means that the dreamers speak only those words which, in the dream, they experience as their own.”

One of the researchers, Isabelle Arnulf, a neurologist in the sleep disorder center at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, told me that her patients mostly use their native language during sleep-talking, though some use a learned language. One exception was a retired Spanish carpenter who’d lived in France for 60 years and sleep-talked mostly in French. Only once did he use Spanish, to count out time (uno, dos, tres) in a dance.

さて、言語習得の体験記で外国語で夢をみることが語られる場合、言語学的・文化的「インサイダーになったこと」のメタファーとして語られる。だから、《英語で夢をみる(Dreaming in English)》といった本は英語では書かれず、ハンガリー語、中文、イボ語などで書かれることになるだろう。しかし、英語だけが“dreaming in X”から外される可能性もあるとして、「リンガ・フランカ」(或いは基軸言語*1)の話になっていく。英語がリンガ・フランカであるとしたら、英語が「内側」を持つことはありえないということになる;

But then there’s the possibility that “dreaming in X” applies to every language on the planet except English. If such dreams embody fantasies about linguistic and cultural insiderness, then maybe global English cannot have an inside, because the language, already everywhere and everyone’s, is what they speak where the world is flatindeed, it’s that flatness of English and its world that Fallows, Rich, Baldwin*2 and the rest are trying to escape. By the 1980s, “English had developed a supranational momentum that gave it a life independent of its British, and more especially its American, roots,” Robert McCrum writes in “Globish,” his book about the future of English. “Already multinational in expression, English was becoming a global phenomenon with a fierce, inner multinational dynamic, an emerging lingua franca described by the anthropologist Benedict Anderson as ‘a kind of global-hegemonic post-clerical Latin.’ ” So maybe you’re more likely to find a book titled “Dreaming in Manglish” (a Malay-English hybrid) or “Dreaming in Englasian” (English vocabulary in Chinese and Hindi syntax, as termed by the novelist Nury Vittachi).
勿論、これからも非英語ネイティヴによる《英語で夢をみる(Dreaming in English)》的な本は出されるだろうけど、タイトルはそれよりも《英語を食べる(Eating English)》の方がいいよという。ERARD氏は夢を食べる獏の話をご存知なのか。

Deborah Fallows Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language*3
Katherine Russell Rich Dreaming in Hindi*4

この2冊はとても興味があるのだけれど、上海の本屋ではまだ見かけていない。また、このエッセイで言及されている、2年間に13の言語を学んだ紐育人Ellen Jovinの話も面白い(彼女は外国語で夢みることができたのか)*5

ところで、印度人のPallavi Aiyar*6が英語で書いた、北京の胡同に住む2匹の猫を語り手とする小説、Chinese Whiskers(HarperCollins India)が出たことを知る(John Sunyer “Cats:the novel” TimeOut Shanghai February 2011, p.58)。

*1:See http://d.hatena.ne.jp/oda-makoto/20090206#1233957230 Also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090212/1234405882

*2:Rosecrans Baldwinは小説家。仏蘭西滞在記を書いた。 http://www.rosecransbaldwin.com/

*3:See LESLEY DOWNER “Character Building” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/books/review/Downer-t.html Susie Gordon “Mind Your Matter” CityWeekend January 20 2011, p.22

*4:See SUSAN DOMINUS “Learning Hindi Was Hard, but It Was Just the Start” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/nyregion/23bigcity.html Eveline Chao “Dream vs. Dream” that's Shanghai February 2011, p.16

*5:Ralph Gardener “13 Tongues, Three Years” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703440004575548341647547242.html

*6:See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090308/1236491131