Switching Languages May = Switching Personalities

Siegel, Jason F. siegeljf at indiana.edu
Mon Jun 30 15:08:15 UTC 2008

For anyone looking for references on this, check out the responses to 
the Ask-a-Linguist queries on this topic. Also, for a link to the 
original article as well as the point of view of a linguist, Mark 
Liberman posted a response at Language Log, also linked below. 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.



Jason F. Siegel
Ph.D. Student, Linguistics & French Linguistics
Department of French & Italian
Ballantine Hall 642
1020 East Kirkwood Avenue
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103
siegeljf at indiana.edu

Quoting Don Osborn <dzo at bisharat.net>:

> I thought that this was a pretty common understanding. Some years ago when I
> was a Peace Corps volunteer-leader in Guinea (we were a total of 6
> volunteers at the time as the program was just starting up), one of the new
> volunteers remarked once that I seemed to have different personas speaking
> English, French and Pular. Kind of surprised me to hear that, but then it
> seemed to make sense.
> Are there not other studies on this topic?
> Don
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
> [mailto:owner-lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu] On Behalf Of Harold
> Schiffman
> Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2008 9:04 AM
> To: lp
> Subject: Switching Languages May = Switching Personalities
> 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-swit
> ching.html
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