Off topic: Two languages, two minds, two personalities.
Thread poster: texjax DDS PhD

texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:13
Member (2006)
English to Italian
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Jul 21, 2006

I find this article very interesting and I would like to share it with you.
tex

Two Languages, Two Minds

“Many bilingual individuals say they feel like a different person depending on which language they are speaking. A new study lends credence to their claims
N.R.E., …charted the personality traits of 225 Spanish/English bilingual subjects both in the U.S. and Mexico as they responded to questions presented in each language.
They found three significant differences: when using English, the bilinguals were more extraverted, agreeable and conscientious then when using Spanish.
Researchers have shown before that bicultural individuals assume different roles depending on environmental cues. But the new results indicate that character itself can morph. To show that changes in personality-albeit modest ones- can be triggered by something as subtle as the language you’re speaking suggests that personality is more malleable than is widely expected….
The investigators ruled out differences between translations of the questions as possible confounding factors, and all subjects were truly fluent. The results are significant in that they document the contextual nature of personality.....The U.S. is becoming increasingly bicultural and bilingual, so it is important that we start to develop a better understanding of bicultural minds.”

From: Scientific American Mind, June/July 2006


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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 04:13
Member (2004)
French to English
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French too Jul 22, 2006

My mother is French. My father is American. I am a trained French teacher and lived in France for a while. However, my native language is English. My mother and I are different people, more emotional, in French than in English. However, we discuss money only in English.

It's a lot of fun to be culturally confused.

By the way, my wife is Israeli, of Iraqi background.

Stephen Rifkind


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:13
French to English
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Totally agree! Jul 22, 2006

As a native FR + EN-US, I've noticed over the years the differences in my own behaviour whether I am interacting in French or in English.

As the article Texjax mentionned, I find myself more extraverted and casual when speaking English, more formal and reserved when speaking French, though curiously I will speak with my hands more in French than in English. It even shows up when I am running seminars, though being aware of this now enables me to modulate better depending on what I am striving to achieve.

And I remember with my Mom, we'd speak about money, business, tasks in English but feelings, thoughts, opinions, family, friends in French. When I write (for myself or to bilingual friends), same thing: subject seems to dictate unconscious language choice.

The awareness, funnily enough, came one day many moons ago when my then honey and I came to Paris for a spell. He seemed "off" one day and I asked him what was wrong. He quipped: "Same person, same clothes, but you don't just change languages: even your non verbal communication changes, you don't even walk the same. It rattles me!"

People on this forum should have lots of funny stories to tell! Chat on!

Cheers,

Patricia


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avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:13
English to French
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Voice Jul 22, 2006

I notice that my voice isn't the same whether I speak English, French or Dutch, and others have said that to me many times.

And indeed, I come accross as more extrovert and "confident" in English than in French, even if French is my mother tongue. The words flow better out of my mouth, while I sometimes stumble in French.

Even more so compared to Dutch: then I sound like a child (I'm lacking a lot speaking skills in Dutch)


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:13
German to French
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I am the same... Jul 22, 2006

Quite still in German but when I start speaking with french people I am always cutting the voice and having a very agressive way of speaking (much louder - much quicker and with more interruptions).

I guess I would not even dare speaking in German in such a way - and If I do they are quite schocked and tell me not to speak so loud.

Being extroverted is something new to me that I actually learnt when I had been living in England and been pushed but others not to be shy of being upfront. I can't say how it would have been in France because I have never lived in France since then.
I just guess some of my old school pals would be surprised with what I had become.

I still don't like crowds - but cope better and better thanks to the english experience.


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:13
Member (2003)
French to Italian
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Yes Tex ! Jul 22, 2006

texjax wrote:

I find this article very interesting and I would like to share it with you.
tex

Two Languages, Two Minds

“Many bilingual individuals say they feel like a different person depending on which language they are speaking


I noticed , in fact, that you are very formal when speaking (writing) English, but when you speak (write) Italian you are more extrovert

always a very nice person indeed

As for me, my mother is French, my father was Italian, I spent the first part of my life in France (until 15), I am biligual but I feel Italian, and I am not sure anymore to be able to write French like a (real) French living in France, (speaking yes it is easier, you know).
Anyway , I speak French with my mother every day, my voice doesn't change, but I must admit that I feel a more refined person LOL

Besides, I noticed that we speak French if the matter is money, but Italian if the matter is cooking or family LOL

Of course, I am forced to speak Italian with my husband and my son, both because we live in Italy and because if I try to speak French with them they suddenly tell me "Hey, please don't give yourself airs!"

What shall I do with them? LOL

I wish you a nice week end and forgive me for possible mistakes


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texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:13
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TOPIC STARTER
clever woman Jul 22, 2006

angioletta garbarino wrote:

I noticed , in fact, that you are very formal when speaking (writing) English, but when you speak (write) Italian you are more extrovert


You are sooo right!
indeed


The truth is that when I joke in English, I use a lot of slang words...it comes natural, just like when we speak Italian and we say something funny with an accent!
When I speak my native language though I am always confident because I have no doubts about the meaning, while sometimes I can say something in U.S. slang that might not be appropriate for a place like ProZ where (as we are all aware of) everything is engraved in stone...!
Furthermore, as you know, some colleagues tend to criticize what you say and how you say it and "Anything you say can and will be used against you" in the future.
But one of these days I'm gonna call ya to tell you a couple of jokes in English...and that day, girl, ya will see what I'm takin' 'bout!

Ciao!

[Edited at 2006-07-22 15:25]


[Edited at 2006-07-22 15:33]


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xxxAWa
Local time: 03:13
English to German
+ ...
Sooo true! Jul 22, 2006

Different personalities going with different languages:

Most certainly true. When speaking English I am much more relaxed and outgoing than when speaking German. It even shows in the way I move as my sister noticed years ago. During our first day on holiday in Britain she suddenly asked: "What is the matter with you? The way you walk has changed!" And she was right: I took longer strides and walked more confidently than usual. It was not because I was on holiday, because try as I might, I never achieve this relaxed attitude anywhere else.


Different voices for different languages:

I can't judge that when speaking myself, but noticed it with several persons whose voices drop noticably when they switch to their native language.


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:13
I must be weird, then... Jul 23, 2006

My mother tongue is Spanish, and I am extroverted when I speak it (of course, it is my mother tongue, and that is my personality!).

I also speak English on a daily basis but, when I do, I feel less extroverted just because I know that, even after so many years of practice, there are expressions that do not come so naturally to me...

And I am also fluent in French... but even less extroverted in this language, because I do not practice it as often as I would like...

Of course environment is also extremely important: I would feel much more cmfortable (extroverted) speaking Spanish with my family, than speaking French with a group of scientists.

However, from the above to stating that one has different personalities, feels like a different person, or has two (or more) minds, I think that it is pushing it a bit too far...


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texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:13
Member (2006)
English to Italian
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TOPIC STARTER
environment as variable? Jul 23, 2006

Rosa Maria Duenas Rios wrote:
However, from the above to stating that one has different personalities, feels like a different person, or has two (or more) minds, I think that it is pushing it a bit too far...


Ciao Rosa Maria, nice to meet you again! I partially agree with you. I think that is not just the use of one language but also the environment in which it is spoken that influence the "mood". For instance: I am not fluent at all in Spanish (I understand it thouroughly but when I speak I make a lot of mistakes, more or less funny) but I never felt imbarassed or uncomfortable when I was in Porto Rico speaking Spanish. They were all so nice, always smiling, they made me feel at home and comfortable even if I was lacking Spanish verbal communication skills. But being PR a place where many individuals are fully bilingual, I noticed that thay don't smile as much when they speak English...and when in the U.S., for some reasons (age?), I don't remember the proper word at the grocery store, bank, etc..I feel uncomfortable. I am always the same person, same personality, but I find myself reacting in a different way.
Visual example:
me speaking a very poor Spanish >
me speaking an acceptable English> or


PS. Ciao a todos los boriqueños y a la Isla de incanto!


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 21:13
Member (2002)
French to English
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MODERATOR
Canadian joke for you Jul 23, 2006

Patricia Lane wrote:
though curiously I will speak with my hands more in French than in English.


Two bilingual Canucks are on the ice, fishing. They chat and laugh as they wait for the fish to bite. Finally one says to the other: "Can we switch to English now? My hands are freezing."


Nancy


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 21:13
Member (2002)
French to English
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MODERATOR
Me too M-C! Jul 23, 2006

Marie-Claude Falardeau wrote:

I notice that my voice isn't the same whether I speak English, French or Dutch, and others have said that to me many times.

And indeed, I come accross as more extrovert and "confident" in English than in French, even if French is my mother tongue. The words flow better out of my mouth, while I sometimes stumble in French.


I've been told that many times.

And my accent, which used to be French when I spoke English, has now switched to English when I speak French. I believe that is due to my having moved from Hull (Québec) to Cornwall (Ontario). In both towns, the population is roughly 50-50. The Francophones in Hull influenced my English, and now the Anglos (and now, a husband too) influence my French. But everybody in Cornwall speaks with that famous "franco-ontarien" accent that unfortunately grates on the nervres of many a Quebecker, for not being "pure". Actually, that's kind of a joke too, considering the immeasurable plethora of accents that exist in the world

Good topic!

Nancy


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