For those raised in the United States or in another modern Western nation, it is common to think of language and identity as different, albeit linked, aspects of human interaction. Everyday conversation and popular culture reflect a belief that language serves as the self's most important relational and expressive tool. Without language, it is believed, one's self would be condemned to isolation and silence; language allows the expression of one's innermost feelings, thoughts, or dreams to another and, in the process, forges a ...

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