Switching Languages May = Switching Personalities

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue Jul 1 13:51:11 UTC 2008

Ron and others,

Talk about "old" topics--when I was in graduate school (40+ years ago)
I was interested in bilingualism but there wasn't much to read about
it in the Ling literature. I found myself digging up stuff from the
psychiatric literature (Freud etc.) and lots of stuff about people
(patients)  feeling they had different personalities when they spoke a
different language, but also stuff about how pathological that might
be(come).  What was also clear was that deep-seated emotions can be
closely connected to different languages, so in the psychotherapy lit,
they advocated having the patient go back into the original language
in which the emotion (trauma etc.) was coded, to get at it and get rid
of it.  So I think they're going full circle on this.

Hal S.

On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 11:38 AM, Ronald Kephart <rkephart at unf.edu> wrote:
> On 6/30/08 11:08 AM, "Siegel, Jason F." <siegeljf at indiana.edu> wrote:
>> One
>> reason this may have suddenly attracted attention is that the three
>> authors are all professors of marketing, which means that business
>> sections finally got wind of the situation.
> Right. Somebody will get tenure/promotion for figuring out how to manipulate
> us into buying more stuff.
> By the way: The links weren't working for me and I have class coming up,
> but... Wasn't there a study done ages ago of interviews with bilinguals that
> showed that people talked about things differently depending on which
> language was used in the interview? Was it with Japanese-American WWII
> internees? Or was it Spanish-English bilinguals? I seem to recall that it
> was California somewhere. It's hard getting old...
> Ron


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone: (215) 898-7475
Fax: (215) 573-2138

Email: haroldfs at gmail.com


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