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From the introduction:

The topic is language, and I would like to begin my comments on this morning's papers by pulling together some of the threads of yesterday's discussion. Two themes in particular seem relevant.

The first, is the power of language not only to communicate, but also to exclude. Yesterday morning, we held a panel discussion in which the participants spoke about their first experiences with enforced bilingualism. Olga Moya, for example, spoke movingly of her first day in school when she and several of her classmates were punished for lapsing into Spanish in a moment of crisis. She also observed that many of these same students did not remain in school for very long.

The second is the power of language to shape identity and self expression. Yesterday morning, Yvonne Tamayo spoke about the many things she could say in Spanish but was unable to express in English. Berta Hernandez-Truyol made a similar point at the first plenary when she talked about how she often thinks in English but experiences her emotions in Spanish. And Madeleine Plasencia elaborated on the subject when she spoke about how languages are an integral element of who we are; how they shape not only our personal sense of self, but also our identity in the outside world.