Switching Languages May = Switching Personalities

paulston+ at pitt.edu paulston+ at pitt.edu
Tue Jul 1 20:57:01 UTC 2008

> Switching Languages May = Switching Personalities
> Fascinating study:
> People who are bicultural and speak two languages may actually shift
> their personalities when they switch from one language to another,
> according to new research. . . .The authors studied groups of Hispanic
> women, all of whom were bilingual, but with varying degrees of
> cultural identification. They found significant levels of
> "frame-shifting" (changes in self perception) in bicultural
> participants--those who participate in both Latino and Anglo culture.
> . . .
> In one of the studies, a group of bilingual U.S. Hispanic women viewed
> ads that featured women in different scenarios. The participants saw
> the ads in one language (English or Spanish) and then, six months
> later, they viewed the same ads in the other language. Their
> perceptions of themselves and the women in the ads shifted depending
> on the language. "One respondent, for example, saw an ad's main
> character as a risk-taking, independent woman in the Spanish version
> of the ad, but as a hopeless, lonely, confused woman in the English
> version," write the authors.
> http://educationpolicyblog.blogspot.com/2008/06/switching-languages-may-switching.html
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One reason that one behaves/reacts differently in different languages is
that the people you speak with/to are from a different culture and they
behave differently which in turns colours your behaviour.  I don't think
we need to drag Whorf into bilingualism -- even if undergraduates love
him. Christina

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