Do you have different opinions in different languages?
Thread poster: Larisa Migachyov

Larisa Migachyov
United States
Local time: 05:12
Russian to English
Jun 25, 2004

Does any other bilingual person here find that their opinion on a given subject changes depending on what language they use to think about it? I find that my Russian self and my English self are not entirely in agreement on various social/political issues.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-06-26 00:00]


Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
did you say "opinions"? Jun 26, 2004

I have a different *temperament* in different languagesicon_lol.gif

Interesting thread...


Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator EUTI


Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:12
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
carseats, for example... Jun 26, 2004

and seat belts, drinking and driving (well, actually I feel the same about that in both languages but have learned to keep my mouth shut in one of them), and lots of other car-related things...


Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:12
Member (2004)
English to Italian
maybe... Jun 26, 2004

not "opinions", but behaviours. I live in England, but when I go back to my native Italy my wife says I change personality...icon_smile.gif



Andrea Appel
Local time: 08:12
English to German
+ ...
Ich liebe Dich Jun 26, 2004

Das fällt mir auf Deutsch ziemlich schwer zu sagen. In Deutschland sagt man das eher nur wenn man auf dem Sterbebett liegt.
But I love English and I love my dinner, and I love your house.

Oder können meine Eltern mich wirklich nicht leiden ha ha.


Sheila Hardie  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:12
Catalan to English
+ ...
different behaviour - eating times! Jun 26, 2004

Not exactly opinons...but I certainly eat at different times in Spain from in the UK - much later in Spain of course! There is no way I can eat lunch at 1 PM thereicon_smile.gif And it feels really weird - and late - if I have dinner at 10 PM in the UK.



Sol  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
not opinions, but subject matters Jul 13, 2004

I find there are certain subject matters I can discuss in English that I find difficult to discuss in Spanish, an the other way around. There are also things I can write about that I would never try to say out loudicon_smile.gif

My theory is that it has a lot to do with how young I was when I left my native land, what the political situation was, and what it was like growing up female in a male chauvinist country, even though the chauvinism was very mild compared with other places. I guess you could say that I feel more grown up in one language than the other.

I don't find those problems translating or interpreting, those are not my words then, I am just the vehicle.


Saifa (X)
Local time: 14:12
German to French
+ ...
Not really, but... Jul 13, 2004

I don't think I am really different when I speak one language rather than another.

About eating times: normally people use to have dinner at 18:00 or 18:30 o' clock. We usually never eat before 21:00 or later. The reason is not that we want to do it like in Spain, where we are quite often, but that you cannot eat earlier here either when you want to practise a sport in the evening and after returning home, cooking a nice meal by yourself...

One point where I feel different: I never go to processions here, for example the important procession of Corpus Christi. I am not a Catholic and it does not mean anything to me. It looks like as a relict from remoted times...

But in Andalucia, I like watching at them. It does not mean anything to me either. I find them strange but nice, because the whole city (not only the main street like here) seems to wait for these events with fever. I enjoy watching at the people with their special clothes (here in Germany, people go to the procession with a camera but not with special clothes).


Local time: 23:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
In my case Jul 14, 2004

Sometimes I do change my opinion according to the language I use because Indonesian and English have got very different perspectives.

For example, I often become hierarchy-conscious when speaking Indonesian because Indonesian language has at least 4 different ways to say "I", at least 5 different ways to say singular "you", at least 5 ways to say "please" etc and the usage rule is mostly based on your "status". On the other hand, I feel everyone is equal when speaking English.

Has anyone got this experience?


Marta Argat  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:12
Chinese to Ukrainian
+ ...
me Jul 14, 2004

RafaLee wrote:
Has anyone got this experience?



Sophieanne  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:12
English to French
+ ...
food for thought Jul 15, 2004

I think that when it comes to food, I have different opinions. Or should I say, I have different behaviours, which I would probably justify using different opinions...
For instance, in California, I am almost a vegetarian. I eat meat very rarly, it's almost never red, and has to be organic. I'm increasingly using tofu and tempeh, and I look at the ducks near my patio as if they were my pets. Most of my friends are bhudists, and I blame myself for still eating meat occasinally.
When I'm in France, though, I turn into a different person entirely. My love for ducks, I'm afraid to say, takes on a more carnivorous nature... I just love duck, and can't wait to get to a restaurant and order a magret, or just cook one myself (I have about 10 different recipes for this). But the food thing goes much further.
I feel no guilt eating meat, considering I'm not the only meat predator in the food chain. I still try to buy organic though, as I still think animals should be well treated, so I'm against industrial farming.
In California, I watch everything I eat, and try to skip cakes, there is no butter in my fridge and the yoghurts have to be lowfat.
In France, I rediscover tastes I had forgotten existed. I look for beurre de baratte, the best butter in the world, I eat croissants for breakfast, jambons-beurre at lunch, the creamiest yoghurts I can find... And I still eat vegetables and fruits, because they were always part of the diet in the first place. But what I mean to say is I don't watch myself, I follow my instincts and my envies. I drink more wine, too (you have to if you want to break down all the rich food).
I usually go back to the US having 10 pounds... less.
Yes, I go home skinnier and feeling much better, with absolutely no efforts, no treadmill, no watching, no diet, no nothing.
Must be all the walking...

[Edited at 2004-07-15 01:19]


Melina Kajander
English to Finnish
+ ...
Not so much opinions, but... Jul 15, 2004

...maybe a slightly different personality or behaviour!icon_smile.gif
And as someone said above, I also find it easier to talk about some topics in the other language (English). The weirdest thing is that with people I don't already know, I feel I can nowadays express myself easier/more freely in English than in Finnish (native language)! (Pity I can only translate into the latter...icon_smile.gif)


sarahl (X)
Local time: 05:12
English to French
+ ...
not opinion, culture! Jul 31, 2004

Hi all!
I can really relate to Sophieanne's posting, as I lived in California many years. I am a vegetarian in the US too, and I did acquire a number of Californian behaviors such as recycling, eating low cholesterol foods etc. Interestingly enough, the world champion of low cholesterol is foie gras country in southwest France. Could it be because they walk a lot as Sophie suggested?icon_smile.gif
Anyway, I sometimes feel schizophrenic because every language I use conveys a culture of its own, and every time I switch I adjust to that culture. Does it happen to you too, do you sometimes feel like an alien from outer space with your own alternative culture?icon_smile.gif


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