Saturday, 5 July 2008

How switching language can change your personality

I have recently read in the Press a news that delighted me because it proves what I have known for a long time ; a bi-cultural person reacts differentely to a situation depending on the language he/she is using.

I have always suspected that I was a happier person when I spoke English. In the days when I was badly depressed, I resorted to reading English speaking self help books and it did wonders for me.

New release here.

5 comments:

Tally said...

Although I'm not bi-cultural I know what you quoted myself, but a bit different also. In times when I have been more involved with English, but living in Germany I switch to English, when I'm getting emotional. E.g. writing in my diary in times of depression or having a glas wine too much.

These days I'm in a funny space. I have not been travelling with speaking English for years, but because of my English blog writing and my English internet reading I started to read books in English also at home and English is as naturally to me as living in another country.

Now although being in Hamburg I feel sometimes like traveling because I think in both languages.
So strange in German conversations about feeling, pychology, internet ... I sometimes have to look for the words.

So my travel- and my internet-personality is (international) English, my daily life is German.

In which way are you bi-cultural? I admired your perfect English before.
:-Tally-:

Hélène H said...

Well, thanks Tally for sharing, and also for the compliment !

In fact my father is British and my mother is French ; I was raised in both languages and most of all in both cultures. Sometimes I feel like a weirdo, then I realize it's just the other culture that is expressing itself. For instance, people tend to frown upon me in France because I talk very easily to people and try to help make things happen - which is just normal in England and english speaking countries I believe :o)

I think it's very true that English is good for expressing emotions. It's way too early for me to know what German will mean to me, however at the moment I often feel relieved and pleased with the practical way German words are made !

Hugs.

Tally said...

"pratical way of German word building", you must be kidding :-).
French is very difficult (for me), but I often feel blessed not to have to learn German because it is probably even more difficult.

It's a pity that we don*t live closer. We could tandem up
(meeting and speaking half the time french with you being veryveryvery patient and half the time speaking German me being the native speaker).

tschüs
:-Tally-:

Sacredartist said...

This was a very interesting article. I am not bi-cultural, and never learned a second language. I don't know if I really could as I am not really good at hearing sounds correctly and have problem just pronouncing English words after hearing them, even though that is my native tongue.
But this week I was watching a man speaking in a foreign language and a character generator interpreting his speech. The words went so fast I barely had time to read them and yet in other languages it would seem the person would say a mouth full and you would wait for the script to change. I am sure that it is up to the translator what you get...But I was thinking if you did have a language that was very concise and in which you could say what you meant in very few words. How many ideas you might be able to convey in a short amount of time or how many more ideas that culture would have because of it's language. Or just the opposite how a language could muddle ideas and keep people's thinking more blurred and obscured.
I am not as well read as I might like to be but it seems to me that we are using more words now in novels and saying less. If you read a classic it seems that the textures are rich and fully impregnated with meaning. When I read a popular novel I don't sense that richness and it irritates me, a little.
Well this was a long ramable. Sorry. I guess I just wanted to get some of my 3,000 words out. (they say that women have 1,000 or more words than men.)

Hélène H said...

Well you know , SacredArtist, English is actually a concise language. If you compare a French text with it's English translation (or the contrary), French is about 1/3 longer, it's very impressive...

I'm reading a book now written by an Australian about his life in India ("Shantaram"), and when I see the English phrases of his Indian friends, I can feel that the structure and concepts of Hindi language must be amazing.

You're so right about richness of texture in litterature !