Your personality DOESN’T CHANGE when you speak a different language

Now here’s a guy who knows what it means to learn a language.

Or rather, languages. 15 of them in fact.

“It’s not that your personality changes when you speak a different language. It’s more like you’re just putting on a different pair of glasses through which to see the world each time.”

And if you have reason to doubt what Alex Rawlings says, then consider how he himself must have pondered such themes as personality change while he was going through the process of learning 15 languages and living in 5 countries to achieve his language learning goals. As he learned his languages and necessarily talked to people in order to do so – language is all about communication or what’s the point! – Alex would have been wondering how he sounded to the person he was speaking to. He would have thought to himself: Is speaking this language changing me in some way? His conclusion was No, there is no change in personality.

All of which goes to show that language learning is not just about cliched cultural advantages; it’s a way of learning so much more about yourself too.

I am reminded of a post I wrote last year called Language Learning and Your Personality in which I quoted another polyglot, Luca Lampariello.

“I wouldn’t say the person has a different personality when they speak another language but something definitely changes here. You’re always the same person but … it’s like a piano, you know, you’re just pushing certain spots. Speaking a certain language probably sparkles something in you that is not sparkling when you speak another language. Let me give you an example. When I speak English I feel confident, I feel free.”

Luca says something changes but he doesn’t say exactly what. Alex says the change is akin to putting on a different pair of glasses.

I think what they are both saying is that it’s an individual’s perception that changes.

What do you think from your personal language learning experience? Do you agree that your perception changes, and if so, how?

Jim

Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee®, home of the most comprehensive Spanish learning program for children ever to appear online

Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain with his two bilingual children. Loves it! More…

You may also like...

%d bloggers like this: