Personality's link to language

Did you know you may have a different personality with every language that you speak?

One person, multiple languages, multiple personalities

The other day while surfing the net I came across an article that caught my eye. Being bilingual really can put you in two minds: Researchers say people can have different personalities in each language. This article intrigued me because I, being bilingual, have always felt like I wasn't the same outgoing person in my second language as I am in my native despite fluently speaking both. However, I always chalked it up to nerves and figured it would change with time, the more acclimated I grew to always speaking in my second language.

The research, conducted in 2015, goes on to state that even multilingual speakers perceive colors differently, "because there is a huge variation between where different languages place boundaries on the color spectrum"! So, of course, this got me even more intrigued. I began researching more.

Discovering a treasure trove of research

During my research, one article that interested me the most was Multilinguals Have Multiple Personalites. The article, written in 2014, talks about Susan Erivn, a sociolinguist at the University of California. Susan conducted a series of tests with volunteers that spoke both French and English. She showed them pictures, then asked for the volunteer to create a story with the picture as inspiration.

The volunteers created a story with the picture, both in French and in English. After the tests were concluded, Susan noticed some stories had significant differences, connecting those differences to the way we present our personalities in different languages.

In 1968 she conducted an experiment with Japanese women living in San Francisco as the test subjects. They were asked a series of same questions in both Japanese and English. As she suspected, the women's answers differed with each language.

Since then more research has been done on this very thing.

Is your personality different in other languages?

This is a good question to ask oneself. The human mind is an amazing thing and so may studies have been done on what happens when someone learns more then just one language. What is your personality like in your second language? If it is different than your personality in your native language, what could be the cause? Perhaps this investigation will motivate you to really become more fluent in the language that you are learning. I know it has for me.

A ​Czech proverb says, "Learn a new language and get a new soul." Good luck in your language learning journey, and enjoy that new soul.

June 17, 2016
Mi vida antes del Covid- 19 (IMPERFECTO) A-2
Profile Picture
Alejandra Santiago
August 7, 2020
Profile Picture
Abby H
August 7, 2020
The Origins of popular English Idioms
Profile Picture
Jen Mc Monagle
August 7, 2020