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Reading: The Two Faces of Language Ego


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Research Article

The Two Faces of Language Ego


Alexander Z. Guiora

Department of Behavioral Sciences Haifa, 31905, IL
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A fair amount of attention has been paid over the years to a unique domain in second language behavior, namely pronunciation. Pronunciation seems to be different from other domains such as vocabulary, grammar, syntax and idiom. The difference lies in its intractability beyond a certain age. Most people, most of the time, in most circumstances will fail to acquire native pronunciation in a foreign language. Guiora has offered a psychological theory, a theory of inhibition, to account for this phenomenon (Guiora, 1991, 1992). This theory is based on the constructs of language ego and permeability of language ego boundaries. It can account, alone of the contending hypotheses, for both the extreme rigidity and relative flexibility of the pronunciation barrier. The need arises now to develop a general theory that could also explain the reasons why other language domains, such as vocabulary, syntax, grammar and idiom seem to be governed by rules different from those governing pronunciation. In this paper an attempt is made to formulate such a theory, going beyond the psychological theory of pronunciation and extending it to all language behavior. And perhaps suggesting a theoretical relevance that may go beyond language behavior itself.”

How to Cite: Guiora, A.Z., 1994. The Two Faces of Language Ego. Psychologica Belgica, 34(2-3), pp.83–97. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 1994.
Peer Reviewed


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