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Poll: Do you have different personalities depending on the language you are speaking?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:57
SITE STAFF
Aug 22, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you have different personalities depending on the language you are speaking?".

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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:27
German to English
No, not really... Aug 22, 2011

...but I think we do try and imitate native speakers of a foreign language we are learning or have learned, and good linguists tend to be good imitators!

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:57
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No, not with European languages Aug 22, 2011

Of course I always try to "eliminate" the German accent once I start learning another language. However, this doesn't influence my personality.

When it comes to Native American languages, I do tend to not only "copy" the native pronunciation, but have also noticed that their general "composure" seems to be "conveyed" to me.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Aug 22, 2011

Sort of. My Glaswegian persona is slightly more... sui generis than my "General English speaker" self.

I can make better allusions and cultural references in my native language and its variants so that also helps. As for my other languages, I suppose it depends on my fluency level in each one.


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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:57
Italian to Russian
+ ...
Other Aug 22, 2011

you are interpreter in someone other's intention, still trying to carry on in your common sense (we often use similar concepts, words [take a rest, use a thing, etc.] to describe different things). 50/50, it's dialectical

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Natali Lekka  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:57
English to Greek
+ ...
Voice Aug 22, 2011

Don't you sometimes feel that even your voice changes when you speak another language?

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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:57
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
No Aug 22, 2011

Natali Lekka wrote:

Don't you sometimes feel that even your voice changes when you speak another language?
Yes, voice changes a bit when you speak a foreign language, I think it's even been proved that one speaks with higher notes in a foreign language.

But I would not call that a change of personnality!


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Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:57
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Yes Aug 22, 2011

neilmac wrote:

Sort of. My Glaswegian persona is slightly more... sui generis than my "General English speaker" self.
]

Equally true in my case (though Scots rather than Glaswegian).

[quotes]I can make better allusions and cultural references in my native language and its variants so that also helps. As for my other languages, I suppose it depends on my fluency level in each one. [/quote]

Also true!

Overall, I think that I tend to have a more serious persona in my native language. This not only because I have a better mastery of it, but more generally I find that as a language it demands more precision (it seems to possess more words than most comparable languages I can think of).

Therefore, I tend to be able to adopt a more relaxed persona when speaking my acquired languages, since I find the experience of not having to be just so precise a liberating one. Also I think that the sound and rythym of the language being spoken can have an influence upon one's mood.


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SimeBalyan  Identity Verified
Armenia
Local time: 17:57
English to Armenian
+ ...
Languages reveal different aspects of my personality Aug 22, 2011

It's certainly true. When I speak my native Armenian, I am much more serious and conserved , while speaking Russian or Spanish I become more coquettish and finally when I speak English I seem to feel much more at ease about certain topics or issues that would otherwise seem difficult or awkward.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
So it's true! Aug 22, 2011

Natali Lekka wrote:

Don't you sometimes feel that even your voice changes when you speak another language?


Someone told me years ago that my voice was deeper when I was speaking English than when speaking Spanish or Catalan. I always thought it was their imagination!

As for a changing personality, I'm certain that I act one way when I'm with Spanish speakers and another when with Catalans. I've always believed it was important to fit in and become immersed in the culture.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:57
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, my voice changes Aug 22, 2011

Natali Lekka wrote:

Don't you sometimes feel that even your voice changes when you speak another language?


... but not my personality!

[Edited at 2011-08-22 12:35 GMT]


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Rocio Barrientos  Identity Verified
Bolivia
Local time: 09:57
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Interesting question... Aug 22, 2011

I can be more direct and to the point when I speak English, my kids used to say when they were little (in Spanish) "mom is speaking in English to us, she is really mad".



Have a good week everyone!

Rocío


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Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:57
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
not directly Aug 22, 2011

I would not say that our personality changes. The way we are seen by others changes and makes them believe we are somehow different than we know we are. For example I am very bad at saying jokes in English (it is also because jokes are difficult to translate and adapt to another language and culture), but I use to be funny enough in my native language and in Greek (maybe because there are so many equivalent expressions between Greek and Romanian). People that I use to talk English to may think I am not so funny. Consequently, through their reactions, we have the idea that our personality is different.

So I believe that we may be thinking that our personality is changing (which sounds ridiculous to me, since personality is formed during years, education, depending on family background etc.), but what changes is only the other people´s opinion about us.


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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:57
English to French
+ ...
yes Aug 22, 2011

Yes to both voice and personality change

with French I'm much more soft spoken as it is the norm to be well presented in a soft spoken fashion and mix up with all circles - I'm much bolder and more forward - particularly when back in Catalunya Nord - I'm also less posh than within Paris when meeting my family in the Parisian area.

with English I'm more subdue, polite, and far less bold and forward in English circles - like a lady I particularly make sure I'm careful with my pronunciation far more than in French - much more reserved (my mother does not like the latter when in England)


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 15:57
English to French
+ ...
Other Aug 22, 2011

Change of attitude and behaviour, yes, but I do not think my personality changes.
Having been raised, in Dutch, in a very strict family, I have a hard time expressing anything nice or cuddly in that language... in a Dutch speaking environment, I tend to be tense, and as an adulescent, I usually spoke English with Dutch native friends... (perhaps even today).

Voice changes with the language, of course: the point or place of articulation is different from one language to another.


[Modifié le 2011-08-22 11:40 GMT]


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